Beet Greens with Bruschetta

I remember back when I bought a lot more produce at the store. A women picked out a few bunches of top-on beets and took them to a produce employee. “Can you cut the tops off these for me?” she asked, “I don’t want them.” I hovered near the Asian veg section, eavesdropping and mildly horrified.
The produce dude accommodated her, and I sidled over. “Um, if those are just going to get composted…um…could I…maybe, um…have them?” (Have I mentioned that I’m not great at asking for things?)
And in that way I snagged a huge bag of free beet greens.
Now that I grow my own, beet greens still seem like a free bonus crop. Whenever I pull beets, which I adore, I get the kicker of a clump of tasty cooking greens.
Often I’ll cook my beet greens (or chard, which is a botanical kissing cousin) with tomato or – lately – homemade bruschetta topping, and thicken the mix with breadcrumbs. I love how the breadcrumbs sop up the pot liquor of the greens and make this side dish substantial enough to eat as an entree.

Bruschetta Beet Greens
Ingredients
1-2 tablespoons fat-of-choice. I used lard, but butter or olive oil would work well too.
1 large bunch beet greens or chard, chopped roughly
1 medium onion, sliced
1 half-pint bruschetta-in-a-jar topping. Alternatively, diced fresh or canned tomatoes, plus a little vinegar, honey or sugar, garlic and basil to taste will work just fine.
2-4 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs. Make your own my grating a hard crust of stale bread, or pulse chucks in a food processor. If you are buying breadcrumbs, use panko.
2 tablespoons fresh, soft cheese, such as fresh goat cheese, yogurt cheese, or firm ricotta . I used yogurt cheese.
Method
1) Heat fat in large saute pan over medium-high heat. Saute onions until brown and nicely colored. Almost every good savory recipe begins this way, have you noticed?
Add in the chopped beet greens, cook until greens start to wilt.

I made this bruschetta topping last month as part of tomato madness, and while I haven’t used it on toasted bread, I have been really grooving on using it as a short-cut ingredient in things like this, pasta sauce, soups, etc. If you don’t have something similar, just throw in some garlic, diced tomatoes, dry or fresh basil, a bit of sugar and some vinegar.

Toss in a jar of bruschetta topping or your diced tomatoes.

Cook until the greens are giving up some water and are fully tender but still a nice bright green.

At this point, add you breadcrumbs. Use enough to absorb the pot liquor given off by the greens. This will vary based on your pan, the heat, how much water was on the greens to begin with, etc., etc. Just put in a little and if the greens still look soupy, put in a little more. I grated the dry remnants of a loaf right into the pan.

Cook just a minute or so longer, to allow the breadcrumbs to fully hydrate and absorb the juice. Transfer to a bowl and top with a generous dollop of soft, tangy cheese.

This would be a great side with pork or chicken, or with a meaty white fish steamed with tapenade. You could add in some pasta for a vegetarian meal (sans lard, naturally) or toast up some crostini and serve this as a fall appetizer, topping each crostini with some beet greens and an individual dollop of cheese.

Me, I ate the whole bowl just like this, mixing the cheese into the beet greens after that first photo-bite and turning the whole thing an oddly pleasing pinkish tone.

Comments

  1. Looks great Erica! And really nice of the produce guy to give you a freebe :)

  2. I just threw the beet greens into the compost the other day, because for some reason I had it in my head that only the younger leaves are edible… but I didn't think to cook them! But we have so much greens coming out of the garden at the moment anyways… but my next beetroots, I am going to do this!

    The supermarket will be selling 'gourmet' beet greens at top dollar soon enough!!

Your participation makes this whole thing work, so join in! Comment policy: Wheaton's Law enforced here.

*