“Eat Mostly Plants, Especially Leaves” Michael Pollan – Food Rules
It is good to eat at least one bowl of green leafy vegetables each day, yet it might seem as if there are barely any fresh UK grown green vegetables available in January and February. But there are a few and they are special ones to compensate. They are also easy to prepare. Purple sprouting broccoli, spring greens and winter purslane for example. Also, for something a bit more specialist and edgy, there is no shortage of foraged greens such as pennywort which is a delicious winter salad green, ramsons and three-cornered garlic which are good for salads, and pesto or for adding to soups, risottos and casseroles. There is also sea aster, sea beet and sea purslane to cook and eat with fish and these are just a few – there are lots and lots.
The challenge is where to find these things as they are unlikely to make an appearance in the average supermarket. Good local greengrocers, vegetable box schemes, farm shops and farmer’s markets are likely to have some of them, particularly the purple sprouting broccoli and spring greens – it may perhaps be a surprise to find how inexpensive a large bag of fresh vegetables from the farmer’s market is. Alternatively, there is www.farmdrop.com (although there is a limit to where they will deliver) and, whilst that will be more expensive than other options mentioned, they do have lots of the foraged greens too as well as mixed winter greens and even mixed salad leaves which are abundant at this time of year. Alternatively, unless of course you are an expert forager, you can get them direct from www.forager.org.uk – they also run courses about foraging foods.
These greens need very little in the way of preparation and cooking. Give them a good wash, drain them, cut off any tough or discoloured bits, slice or shred them into manageable pieces, steam them or let them sweat in a covered pan for a few minutes until they are tender; add a little butter or oil or vinegar, any kind you like, and a little salt and pepper and that’s it.
For the salad greens, just remove any discoloured bits, wash them well, drain them and, just before you want to eat them, toss them in a simple dressing of a little olive or rapeseed oil, a little vinegar of your choice and a pinch of sea salt flakes if you like.