ReVision Urban Farm has a winter growing season where baby greens are available in salad blends and in what they call braising blends. I found the braising green mix intriguing. A mix of mizuna, Swiss chard, spinach, baby bok choy and kale. This blend packs a nutritional punch that’s hard to match. Not wanting to take food from those who needed it I substituted their mix with the saute greens now available in grocery stores (although the store blend is missing the baby bok choy). The mix is perfect for the quick saute and makes a killer warm salad or side dish.
AAAAANNNNDDDD…that works for me because this is the time of year when I start to get a little itchy for salad season. The days are getting longer and that has me longing for the warm days of summer when the horrible thought of anything hot to eat has me eating different variations of salad for dinner for a silly number of days straight.
One problem with my itch; its cold–snow still covering the ground, winter coats and wooly slippers in the morning cold. So I decided to try a warm salad. Ding, ding, ding! I discovered a way to cure my salad craving and stay warm at the same time. I fried thinly sliced shallots to top the greens with a crunch, finished the greens with a splash of balsamic vinegar for acid and then topped the whole thing off with crumble blue cheese because I really, really love blue cheese.
I call this a warm salad but it disguises a little secret of mine. This is actually a side dish. The first time I actually made this was as a side with pan-seared fish and polenta, but it was so good that I made it again the very next day for lunch and then ate all of by myself (with hefty chunk of blue cheese this time). Boom, side dish turned warm salad. It’s great with or without the blue cheese, but the blue cheese gives the warm salad a touch of fat and flavor to round into a complete meal.
Sauteed Baby Greens with Crispy Shallots
Warm Salad of Wilted Baby Greens with Crispy Shallots and Blue Cheese
Serves 2-3 as a side or one as a salad
This is both an excellent side or a warm salad. The blue cheese is optional, but if you do use it, choose a smooth mellow blue so you don’t overpower the flavors of the greens. I am a big fan of Great Hill Blue out of Marion, MA. This recipe produces a little extra shallot oil which is leftover from frying the shallots. The extra oil is good in almost everything. Deeply fragrant of shallots, it’s great for salad dressings, seafood or for even more sauteed greens.
1/4 cup olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 package saute greens (about 6 oz)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 oz blue cheese, crumbled
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add thinly sliced shallots.
Cook stirring frequently until most of the shallots are golden brown.
Remove the shallots with tongs or a slotted spoon allowing as much of the oil to drain as possible, and then move the shallots to a paper towel and sprinkle them with a pinch of salt.
Drain all but one tablespoon of the oil from the pan. Reserve the extra shallot oil for another use. Return the pan with one tablespoon of oil to the heat. When it returns to a shimmer add the greens, salt and pepper.
Turning the greens as they wilt, cook them until they are almost all wilted, but a few pieces remain.
Turn off the heat and continue to cook until all the greens are wilted. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss to coat the greens.
Remove the greens to a serving vessel and cover with the crispy shallots. If you are making a salad, or want the blue cheese, add the crumbled cheese over the crispy shallots. Serve immediately.