I'm not referring to the Asian ones. A grocery had a sale of what they called feuilles de moutarde/mustard leaves, but these seem to be what are properly called mustard greens in English. Quick research led me to Southern and Soul Food cooking. Of course everything is drenched in bacon. I'm not vegetarian, just don't like "baconating" everything. I suspect I could just sautée them in olive or sunflower oil, adding some alliums and a dash of fish sauce? The leafy parts taste pretty much like the Asian variety.
When I was in school in the Deep South, we had greens on the trays at least once a week. I always hoped that it was spinach, which I liked, but often it was some horrible bitter thing. They were alternately rumoured to be collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, but I have no idea what they really were. I would actually eat them anyway (I must have been an amazing child.), but they were completely vile.
I eat lots of mysterious Asian greens, and not a single one of them is bitter.
I think the greens that are bitter are the collards, although it might be turnip greens. It's been a long time since I had either one of those.
Mustard greens, on the other hand, I love and have grown here in Mexico just so I could have them. LaGatta, treat them the same way you'd treat swiss chard, i.e. either stir-fried in olive oil with maybe some garlic if you like, then dress them lightly with a tad more olive oil, a few drops of vinegar, & salt & pepper.
I bought a mysterious cooked green in the olives/prepared delicacies section of a Bologna market. It turned out to be mustard greens, semi-drowned in olive oil and with some flakes of red chile. It was utterly delicious. Bought what I thought was the same thing here in Naples and it's good, but subtly different. I suspect it's just a different variety.
I'm just tucking into them now. They are fine; not bitter at all, pleasant faint mustard taste (like gai choi). I suspect that these were grown in Mexico - everything is late here. I made a simple Asianish stir-fry with garlic, red onion and very good fresh organic ginger. I added some frozen shrimp and a side of quinoa (mixed white and black - they taste the same, just makes the dish prettier (mostly white, perhaps 1/4 black).
I think I'll prepare all that is left over as it could also go into dishes where chard is used, perhaps even the batch of turkey-based empanadas I'm making this weekend or a (Spanish-type) tortilla.
I'm so happy you seem to be enjoying your Italian journey and am reminding your trio to be especially luvvy upon your return.
Midwesterners like me,for greens with bacon fat and cornbread ate beet greens, hopefully with the baby beets attached. As no grocer wanted to be bothered with tender young beets these only came from the garden when the beets were thinned. My aunts also gathered purslane to eat as greens before the rest of the garden was up in strength. We also ate watercress but it took a lot of cleaning as snails liked it too.
And what about all of those green carrot tops that are supposed to be delicious?
Basically, the problem is that most people (at least in Western culture) just do not like greens for some reason or another. I like them, but I will also confess that I rapidly reach my limit. I can eat them for two days in a row but by the third day I don't want anymore.
However, I can eat salad every day and at every meal, so maybe I should just not cook greens at all.
One of the things that I have read about watercress is that it is one example of an item that should only be eaten in the "industrial" version and never eaten wild unless you have total certainty about the environs. Watercress is a plant that sucks up every pollutant possible and totally loves doing so. So it is a wonderful item to plant around sewage treatment centres but in such cases it should absolutely never be consumed.
Gosh, that sounds really good, LaGatta! Thanks for the nice wishes. I do miss the little waggers.
Huckle, I've never understood why beet greens are not promoted more. I sometimes get them at my market if I can snag them before the vendors tosses them. Purslane is sold in the Mexican markets, and grit is more of a problem than snails -- who probably hate grit.
Talking about tossing away the green portions remind me of a story my sister Cathy told me. When she lived in Colorado, a friend called her at work one day and said that she had so many turnips that she'd left a big bag of them at my sister's back door. Cathy said she was thrilled at the idea of all those nice fresh greens ... until her friend went on to say, "I already cleaned them up by pulling off all the tops and throwing them away."
I agree with you about salad, Kerouac, but I think nutritionally we're urged to incorporate "dark leafy greens" in our diets. I am pretty sure that broccoli fits that bill, plus taste- and texture-wise is a nice change from the leaf greens.
I just wish that Romanesco was available more regularly. On the other hand, that might mean that it is a really seasonal authentic plant, so that makes it even better. Of course, it is so pretty that I could just look at it all day without even eating it.
Romanesco appears here at the very end of summer, almost autumn. I like it too, but I do also appreciate some darker, slightly bitter greens. I think much of the extreme bitterness has been bred out of them - also out of aubergines.
Not all Western peoples disdain greens. Certainly Greeks and southern Italians eat mountains of them. Though it is true that the meat-heavy (IANAV = I am not a vegan) diet has spread to Athens, Naples and other urban areas.
We I was little at my grandparents' house in Lorraine, we would eat green beans and peas in the summer until they were coming out of our ears. And then the big canning pot would come out to sterilise the jars to put away just as much for the winter.