We just returned from a week long road trip to San Francisco and Carmel, California. We had a wonderful dinner at a restaurant in the city that we frequented years ago when we lived in a nearby neighborhood. It was as good as we remembered, after all it's been there for 30 years and in San Francisco that makes it a dinosaur. Restaurants don't stay open that long in SF if they're not good. But Italian food is rich and heavy so the next night in Carmel, we ordered lighter fare.
The fish restaurant was fantastic. My dungenous crab salad was fresh and light and delicious, but the real winner was a spinach side dish served underneath the grilled Diver's scallops Bruce ordered.
This is my recreation of the greens and it was every bit as good as the restaurants. We ate it immediately; we did dish it into bowls but ate it at the stove. We didn't even wait for the main course.
This will become a staple in our house. I have a vegetarian friend coming to dinner next week and I wanted to do a trial run on the vegetarian version, so I omitted the bacon and used vegetable broth instead of chicken. I didn't miss them one bit. The fact that this dish is so healthy and and good for me is just the icing on the cake. I think I'll be serving this over warm quinoa at some point. It was filling enough for a meatless main course.
Sautéed Greens with Cannellini Beans and Bacon
2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
4 slices of bacon cut into 1-inch chunks (optional)
1 cup of diced yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
¼ teaspoon of dried crushed red pepper
1 large bunch of greens (spinach, kale, mustard greens, or broccoli rabe, about 1 lb.), stems removed, spinach left whole, other greens cut into 1-inch strips;
about 10 cups packed greens in total.
1 cup (or more as needed) vegetable or chicken broth
1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans (white kidneys) rinsed slightly, and drained
1 cup of diced fresh tomato
1 teaspoon of Sherry wine vinegar, or more to taste
1 Tablespoon of soft butter or extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil over medium heat in a non stick pan. Add the bacon if using, and render the fat. Reserve the crisp bacon pieces and set aside.
Add the onion to the fat and let it sweat over low heat until onions are translucent. Add the garlic slices and crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Do not brown the garlic or it will become bitter.
Add the greens by the handful, letting them wilt down before adding more, so you can get them all in the pan. Toss them to coat with the oil.
Add some of the broth, cover and simmer until the greens are tender. If using spinach along with other greens, add the toughest greens first. Let them cook down a bit before adding the spinach, which will cook quickly. Add more broth as necessary to the pan. Cook 1 to 10 minutes, depending on the greens. When greens are tender, add the beans and tomato. Simmer until the tomatoes and beans are heated through and the liquid is almost absorbed, about 2 minutes. Be careful not to break up the beans while stirring. Add the bacon lardoons back into the vegetables if using and stir in the vinegar. Add more vinegar if desired. Remove from heat and put the butter or oil (if using) into the pan and toss it to coat the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
You can omit the bacon, and the oil or butter finish for a healthier dish.
Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.