There are plenty of cookbooks celebrating butter, sugar, seafood, soups, and BBQ, but there’s certainly a dearth of books showcasing, well, greens. Sure, greens are arguably not particularly glamorous, a dense mess of crunchy stems and bitter leaves, but this unsung hero deserves its time in the limelight.
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Leaf: Lettuce, Greens, Herbs, Weeds, $22.49 on Amazon
That’s what “Leaf,” a cookbook from food writer Catherine Phipps, is all about. The thick pink book makes greens, herbs, weeds, and, yes, leaves, the center of attention, highlighting their versatility, many flavor profiles, and diverse delicacies. “Leaf” brims with 120 recipes, from flaky, palmable herb pies to stuffed savoy cabbage leaves bursting with chickpeas, tomatoes, and a slew of spices.
The opening of the book is complete with a comprehensive introduction to sourcing and storing leaves, with a focus on sauerkrauts and other pickled and tangy vegetables, like kimchi. And while it may seem like this book leans on the healthy side, there are plenty of dishes throughout that may star greens but are still indulgent (think pizza and cheesy gratins).
Good Cook Set Of 3 Nonstick Cookie Sheets, $18.08 on Amazon
To get started, take a peak at this recipe for a chard galette. A whole wheat spelt pastry dough is rolled out like pizza and filled with ribbons of sautéed chard, coin-shaped potatoes, garlic, rosemary, and grated cheddar cheese. The whole thing is baked in the oven, then drizzled with rosemary oil. Slice it into wedges like a quiche, then pair with a green salad. After tasting it, you might just be seeing a lot more greens in your fridge.
Recipe excerpted with permission from Leaf by Catherine Phipps, published by Quadrille October 2019, RRP.
Chard Galette Recipe
This is something I make frequently as it is a very good receptacle for leftovers – heels of cheese, roasted root vegetables, and of course, any greens. It is very quick if you have enough cooked greens and a packet of vacuum-packed beetroot, though of course, the flavor is better if you roast fresh beetroot and then use their leaves in the galette. The rosemary oil at the end isn’t essential, but it does add an extra depth and smokiness.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 400g (14oz) chard, stems and leaves separated, finely shredded 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
- 200g (7oz) new or waxy potatoes, sliced, or cooked beetroot, cut into wedges
- 100g (3 ½ oz) Cheddar cheese, grated
- For the pastry: 300g (2 ½ cups) wholewheat spelt flour
- 175g (6oz) butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- Sea salt
- For the rosemary oil: 4 tbsp olive oil
- A few sprigs of rosemary
- Start with the filling. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large frying pan and add the chard stems. Cook for 5–10 minutes over a medium heat until lightly coloured, then add the garlic and chard leaves. Pour in 50ml (¼ cup) water, then cover and leave the chard to wilt. Stir in the rosemary and cool. At the same time, cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender. Drain and cool.
- Next, make the pastry. Put the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Add the butter and rub in until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively do this in a food processor or in a stand mixer using the beater attachment. Add the egg and work in just enough iced water to bring together into a smooth, slightly tacky dough. Form into a ball, then cover in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF/Gas 6). Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to a round of approximately 30–35cm (12–14in) diameter.
- Transfer the round to your largest baking (cookie) sheet – you will probably find that it will overlap slightly, but it is still much easier to assemble in situ. Mix the chard with the potatoes or beetroot, then pile onto the pastry, leaving a border of around 4–5cm (1 ½ –2in). Sprinkle with the cheese. Fold in the borders so they cover the outer limits of the filling – don’t worry about the pastry pleating and overlapping; it will have to in places. Brush with beaten egg. Bake for 35–40 minutes, until well browned.
- Meanwhile, make the rosemary oil. Put the rosemary on a baking sheet and brown in the oven for a few minutes. Crush in a pestle and mortar, then mix with the olive oil.
- Drizzle the galette with the rosemary oil. It is best served on the warm side of room temperature with a green salad.
Header image courtesy of Mowie Kay.