- 1 tablespoon plus 12 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 8 ounces greens (such as Swiss chard, spinach, or beet tops), stems removed, leaves sliced
- 4 6 x 3 x 1/2-inch slices country-style white bread, toasted, each slice cut in half crosswise
- Grey Celtic salt (also called gros sel or gray salt) or other salt
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and stir 15 seconds. Add greens and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes.
Place toasts on platter. Drizzle 1 1/2 teaspoons oil over each toast. Top with greens. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Recipes Using Leafy Green Stems
Don’t assume you have to toss the stems when cooking with leafy greens such as kale and chard—we find they add a nice grassy flavor when cooked along with the leaves. Here are our favorite recipes that make use of both the leaves and stems of leafy greens.
Braised Duck Legs with Mustard Greens and Bok ChoyThe intricate notes of anise and nutmeg compliment the mildness of the bok choy and peppery mustard greens. With so many flavors at play, you’ll want to serve this dish with plain steamed white rice. Get the recipe for Braised Duck Legs with Mustard Greens and Bok Choy Cooked Wild Greens Salad
This dish is made with wild mallow leaves in Morocco, but it’s equally good with arugula, Swiss chard, purslane, young kale, or beet greens. See the Cooked Wild Greens Salad Recipe Christopher Hirsheimer
Lentils with Swiss Chard and Khlea
Cavolo Nero and Prosciutto BruschettaCavolo nero, also known as Tuscan kale, Lacinato kale, or Dinosaur kale, balances thinly sliced, salty prosciutto over toast. Get the recipe for Cavolo Nero and Prosciutto Bruschetta »
Sautéed Collard GreensA favorite side dish to many Southern meals. Collard greens soak up the flavors they are cooked in and respond well to a low and slow method of preparation. See the recipe for Sautéed Collard Greens »
Broccoli Rabe, Goat Cheese, and Lemon Zest PizzaFresh spring greens, soft goat cheese, and lemon zest makes a bright and springy pizza perfect for the season.
Sautéed Chinese BroccoliAt the Houston restaurant Reef, Chinese broccoli, brightened with ginger and chiles, is served alongside redfish on the half shell. See the recipe for Sautéed Chinese Broccoli
Orecchiette with Rapini and Goat CheeseSlightly bitter rapini (also known as broccoli rabe) marries well with tangy goat cheese in a pasta recipe that’s ideal for summer picnics and potlucks. Get the recipe for Orecchiette with Rapini and Goat Cheese »
Umbrian Flat Bread Sandwiches (Torta al Testo)These simple broccoli rabe–sausage sandwiches are a favorite postmarket lunch of cook and author Lidia Bastianich. See the recipe for Umbrian Flat Bread Sandwiches (Torta al Testo) »
Fennel and Herb Phyllo Pastries (Hortopita)
Wild Greens with Fried Eggs (Horta me Avga Tiganita)Wild Greens with Fried Eggs (Horta me Avga Tiganita)
Pulled Pork ItalianoPulled Pork Italiano
Tomato Bruschetta with Sauteed Spinach
Remember the scene in “Julie and Julia” when Julie is ferociously chopping tomatoes in her teeny Queen’s kitchen, while frying the most beautiful slices of rustic bread, and the camera cuts quickly from the bread, to the tomatoes, to the perfectly torn basil, to her arranging the bruschetta, to them inhaling the works of edible art at the table?
Remember almost peeing your pants, pausing on that scene and slamming your face into the TV screen in a ridiculous attempt for flavor osmosis?
Well, I’m telling you what, this is the p.e.r.f.e.c.t. time of year to take advantage of this kind of rustic eating. Freshly picked tomatoes from the garden, basil for days, a warm, golden loaf of bread. Yes, and yes. And yes.
I added a simple layer of sautéed spinach to the mix, just to bump up the greens. But you can leave this baby authentic if you like!
Hey, now I don’t have to slam my face into anything! Well, nothing flat, hard and liable to leave unsightly nose bruises anyway.
Tomato Bruschetta with Sauteed Spinach:
What it took for 2:
* 1 loaf Italian bread, sliced into 1-inch slices
* 4 large tomatoes, seeded and roughly chopped
* 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
* 1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
* 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
* 2 cups baby spinach
* pinch of coarse salt
* couple of grinds of freshly ground pepper
Heat 1/2 the oil in a medium skillet. Place the bread slices in the skillet and fry (ohhh yes!) until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes total. Remove from pan, rub the garlic half against each slice of bread. Set aside.
Toss the spinach into the pan and cook until wilted, 45 seconds. Remove from heat.
In the meantime, toss the diced tomato with the remaining oil, basil, a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Layer a little spinach across each slice and top with tomato basil mixture.
Use Stinging Nettles Like Spinach
Stinging nettles, once blanched and squeezed dry, can be used in place of spinach in recipes in which the spinach is cooked. A few favorite examples of how to use stinging nettles like spinach include spinach lasagna and spinach rice pilaf. Stinging nettles also work well as the green in greens in yogurt and cumin.
Wilted Greens and Sautéed Mushroom Crostini
This Wilted Greens and Saut Mushroom Crostini is a savory appetizer- perfect finger food to serve at a party or before a meal, or anytime as a healthy snack. The veggies are sauteed in a delicious white wine a butter sauce, then placed on top of a baguette slice for that perfect bite.
- 3 tablespoons (42 g) butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 8 ounces (225 g) sliced cremini mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup (60 ml) white wine (I like to use Sauvignon Blanc)
- 4 tablespoons (16 g) fresh parsley, divided
- 1 cup (30 g) chopped rainbow chard, thick center stems discarded
- 1 baguette, sliced
1. Melt 2 tablespoons (28 g) of the butter and the olive oil in a large pan, then add the sliced mushrooms and garlic, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until softened.
2. Add the white wine and 3 tablespoons (12 g) of the parsley to the mushrooms and stir to combine. Continue cooking the mushrooms until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. With 4 minutes left, add the rainbow chard and the remaining 1 tablespoon (14 g) butter.
3. Turn the broiler on high, spread the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown, 3-5 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler, then drizzle with olive oil.
Garden Tomato Bruschetta
- 1 slender baguette or loaf of crusty sourdough bread, sliced
- Several tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, divided (or red-wine vinegar)
- Ripe garden tomatoes use 2 large cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 small tomato sliced per slice of bread
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 large garlic clove, halved
- Small basil leaves
- Topping—see a list of suggestions below
- Broiler: Preheat the broiler and adjust the rack to that is it about 4 inches from the heat.Charcoal or gas grill: Prepare grill for direct medium heat (350° to 450°F) you will be able to hold your hand 5 inches from the grate for only about 5 seconds.
- Cut the bread into medium-thick slices suitable for toasting or grilling.
- Brush the bread on both sides with olive oil and rub both sides of each slice with garlic. (If you rub the garlic well into the bread, the flavor will be more pronounced less so, the flavor will be mild.)
- Broil or grill the bread until lightly browned or toasted on both sides, about 1 to 3 minutes. Use tongs to turn the bread once. Transfer the bread to a platter.
- Raw tomato topping: Peel—or not, core, seed, and dice, slice, or chunk the tomato. A meaty tomato such as a plum tomato is best, but you can use a cherry tomato or any fresh-picked garden tomato. If the tomato is juicy and seedy, drain the sliced tomato in a colander for a few minutes. Then arrange the tomato on top of the bread. Sprinkle with olive oil or red wine vinegar, salt and pepper, and basil leaves. Serve immediately.Cooked tomato topping: Heat a cast-iron skillet until water dances when sprinkled on the skillet. Add 1½ tablespoon oil and spread across the skillet with a heat-proof brush. Add tomato slices or chunks into the skillet sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook stirring until the tomato juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Gently loosen tomatoes from pan with a wide metal spatula as they are done and transfer to a bowl.
- Set out the toasts and the tomatoes so family and guests can build their own bruschettas.
Bruschetta Toppings: Add these toppings to the toast and tomatoes:
CHICORY: Also know as dandelions greens or wild endive. Remember it will significantly reduce its volume once cooked, so get a nice bunch, at least one pound!
OIL: Extra virgin olive oil is the best for cooking sautéed vegetables. If you don’t have that type just use your regular olive oil.
GARLIC: It depends in your taste. I like my chicory to have a nice garlic flavour and that’s why I also like to add it chopped, while my mother in law will just sautée the whole cloves to release the aroma and then discard it.
PEPERONCINO: I use what I have available at the moment, sometimes is fresh red peperoncino, sometimes is peperoncino flakes or sometimes regular dried peperoncino which I just crush it before adding it.
SALT: Some for the water to boil the chicory and some to adjust at the flavour at the end.
What Kind of Bread Should you Use for Bruschetta?
In short, you want a hearty bread that can stand up to grilling. Marcella Hazan says, "the name bruschetta comes from bruscare, which means "to roast over coals" the original and still the best way of toasting the bread." She calls for Italian whole wheat bread (pane integrale) sliced 1 1/2 inches thick. I usually use whatever hearty sourdough or country loaf I have on hand at the time. If you're baking homemade sourdough, by all means use that. Bruschetta is a great way to use up day(s)-old bread. Many sources will tell you 1/2-inch slices are the goal, and Marcella weighs in suggesting we use bread sliced 1 1/2-inches thick. I find that slices 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick hit the sweet spot where you can get a good ratio of topping to bread in each bite.
That said, let me back up a minute and note that a lot of the bruschetta I see photos of are actually crostini - small two-bite toasts sliced from a white baguette-style bread and topped with a tomato mixture. That's not what I'm talking about today. The bruschetta I love uses hearty slabs of bread, preferably with a dense crumb. It is grilled, rubbed well with garlic (both sides!), and topped. These aren't two-bite affairs, they're more like 5-6.
As far as grilling the bread? In the A16: Food+Wine cookbook they note, "the word bruschetta, which is derived from bruciare, "to burn" implies that some charring on the bread is desirable." Assuming both sources are right about the origins of the name bruschetta, we want to grill our bread, and get a kiss of the burn you get from grilling. If you don't have access to a grill, second choice would be to use a broiler. Third option, use a stovetop grill pan.
Sheep Cheese Bruschetta
Pile tart greens and onions on sheep cheese and garlic toast. Run it under the broiler to wilt, then feast.
Not very different from French bread pizzas, these invite riffs… add tomato, anchovy, chopped olives. Use sautéed onions instead of the greens. Or skip the greens and instead drizzle the cheese with honey and lightly brown under the broiler.
You can have the bruschetta done ahead up to the point of sprinkling the greens with olive oil. Eat them hot, warm or at room temperature.
Toast bread in the oven or over a fire. Rub with garlic (for milder garlic flavor, rub it on the bread before toasting) and moisten lightly with the olive oil. Sprinkle each slice with salt and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet.
Preheat boiler, setting oven rack about 6 inches from heat. Blend together onion, salad mix and basil. Cut the cheese into thin slices. Divide the cheese between the slices of bread.
Top each bruschetta with several leaves and onion rings. Sprinkle liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper. Run under broiler until greens wilt and cheese is melted. Remove from oven, sprinkle with balsamic and eat hot, warm or at room temperature.
White Bean and Oregano Bruschetta on Sautéed Swiss Chard
My friend Steve is an excellent photographer and offered to come try out some food photography with me. We discovered it’s a lot more complicated than it looks, between garnish, cutlery placement, layering of textures, lighting, other accessories…the list is endless!
I cooked a few simple dishes to experiment with. This is the first dish we shot, which I think turned out pretty well and it was delicious! I modified this recipe from Simply Organic: A Cookbook for Sustainable, Seasonal and Local Ingredients. It called for mustard greens but I used swiss chard because I had lots on-hand. I think any greens that sauté well would work.
Stephanie over at Clockwork Lemon, our friend Rachele, and I had had a baking date a few days earlier where we made this Whole-Wheat and Rye Swirl Loaf. I cut a bunch of slices into triangles, drizzled with grapeseed oil and toasted them in the oven. The hint of caraway every few bites added another touch of deliciousness too!
White Bean and Oregano Bruschetta on Sautéed Swiss Chard
2 Tbsps olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups thickly sliced greens (swiss chard, mustard, kale)
2 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
1/2 red onion, minced
1 cup cooked white beans
2 tsps oregano, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used 1/4 of a bouillon cube)
salt and pepper, to taste
6-12 Crackers or toasted bread slices
In a large pan, sauté the greens in olive oil until wilted. Add in half the garlic and stir once. Season well with salt and pepper. Remove from pan into a bowl and drizzle balsamic vinegar in.
In the same pan, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent. Add the beans, oregano and broth/bouillon. Simmer until liquid has evaporated then add remaining garlic. Turn off heat and mash the bean mixture with a fork until desired texture is reached. (I made mine fairly smooth with a few whole beans left.) Season well with salt and pepper.
Place the greens on crackers or bread first, then arrange a tablespoon or so of the bean mixture on top. Garnish with a thin slice of raw red onion.