02/29/2012 09:16 am ET Updated Aug 31, 2012

A Basic Recipe For Winter Greens

The Spendid Table's How To Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Dear Lynne,

This is an odd season to do it, but I am a frozen-to-fresh vegetable convert. I like things in butter sauce, but don't want the fat, and want to eat greens. Can you walk me through a basic recipe for winter greens?

Kathleen in Ohio


Dear Kathleen,

Basic but very good, this recipe will start you off. Once you've done it a few times, spread out to substituting broccoli and cauliflower for the greens. They will need to be cooked for about five minutes or so with water or broth to barely cover, but the starting saute and the finish of butter stays the same. Of course you can change the seasonings to whatever pleases you.

Tender Greens in Garlic Butter Sauce
Serves 2 to 3
15 minutes prep time; about 15 minutes stove time

The trick of swirling a little butter into the greens as you take them off the stove delivers a lot more fresh butter lushness than you'd expect.

1-2 tablespoons good tasting extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium onion, cut into ½-inch dice
3 large garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 1-1/2 pounds fresh spinach, or chard or escarole, washed, and coarsely chopped
1/16 teaspoon of fresh ground nutmeg, or to taste
1/2 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon good-tasting butter

1. In a 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan, heat the oil over medium high. Add the onion and sauté, stirring often, 3 minutes, or until golden. Turn the heat to medium, stir in the garlic and cook 30 seconds. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Turn the heat back to medium high and quickly stir in the greens a handful at a time. As each batch wilts down add more. Stir in the nutmeg and apple.

3. Sauté and stir the greens 1 minute, or until wilted, tender but still bright colored. Taste them for seasoning and tenderness.

4. As you pull them off the heat, swirl in the butter so it barely melts. Serve the greens hot or warm.