Seasonal Greens/Stalk Vegetables - Shopping & Cooking

Arugula
Asparagus
Broccoli Rabe / Rapini
Brussels Sprouts
Cardoon Stalk
Chard
Collard Greens
Cress
Endive
Fennel
Kale
Kohlrabi
More Greens / Microgreens
Rhubarb

Arugula

aka rocket, rucola, rugola, roquette, Italian cress

Can be eaten raw or cooked.

Look for: Bright emerald green leaves. Avoid yellow or limp leaves, and slimy or withered stems.

Storage: Wrap in damp paper towel and refrigerate in plastic bag.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Pickled beet salad w/ creamy farm egg, arugula & frisee -- Michael Tusk at Quince
  • Roquefort cheese, salt baked pears & arugula salad w/ caramelized walnuts & ice wine vinaigrette -- Pamela Mazzola at Boulevard
  • Moroccan roasted portobello mushroom, roasted butterball potatoes, chick pea-arugula salad, garlic tahini, spicy Harrisa, apple-turmeric chutney -- Eric Tucker at Millennium Restaurant
  • Top sirloin steak, arugula, cherry tomatoes & grilled porcini mushrooms -- Mark Gordon at Rose's Cafe

COMMON, GREEN
WHITE

Asparagus

Asparagus is most often green - sometimes with purple streaks, and sometimes completely white (when protected from sunlight). White spears are less fibrous with a more delicate flavor.

To remove the fibrous parts before cooking, bend each spear near the bottom. It will snap at just the right place. Alternatively, you can peel the bottom to remove the thicker fibers.

They can be sauteed, pureed or broiled, but may be easiest boiled for 3-5 minutes and put under cold water to stop them from cooking further.

Look for: Firm, straight spears with compact tips. (Thickness doesn't indicate age. Flowered tips are more mature; Compact tips are younger and usually more tender.) They should slightly squeek when you squeeze them. Avoid shriveled or slimy spears, and larger spears that are more white than green.

Storage: Refrigerate wrapped in damp paper towel and plastic bag, or standing vertically in water.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Grilled asparagus, fried egg, black truffle vinaigrette -- Ed Curew at Florio
  • Spit-roasted chicken w/ grilled asparagus & spicy greens -- Christopher Lee at Eccolo
  • More asparagus info in the SF Chronicle

Broccoli Rabe / Rapini

aka broccoli raab, brocoletto, rappi, choy sum, Chinese flowering cabbage, etc.

A bitter, zesty green with flowered buds that look similar to broccoli florets. To lessen bitterness, blanch rabe in salted, boiling water for a minute or so, drain, rinse with cold water, and then cook as desired.

Use broccoli rabe like you would any cooking green. It's also delicious braised.

Look for: Small, firm, green stems and tightly closed flower buds. Avoid overgrown, yellowed, wilted or slimy stems.

Storage: Wrap in damp paper towel and refrigerate in plastic bag.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Broccoli rabe sauteed with spicy sausage & olive oil -- Adrian Hoffman at One Market
  • Penne Rigate w/ ricotta, broccoli rabe, baby shitake, toasted breadcrumbs -- John Clark & Gayle Pirie at Foreign Cinema
  • Local albacore tuna seared rare w/ mustard seeds, broccoli rabe & fresh cannellini beans -- Bruce Hill at Bix

Brussels Sprouts

Miniature heads of cabbage that grow around a central stem.

They have a slight bitter flavor, and are most often boiled or steamed and paired with stronger flavored foods.

(Check out the SF Chronicle's recent article on these disrespected little cabbages.)

Look for: Firm sprouts with good green color, compact leaves and clean ends. Avoid puffy, wilted or yellow sprouts.

Storage: Refrigerate in plastic bag. Use within a day or so of purchase.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Brussels Sprouts w/ Pancetta & Caraway
  • Brussels Sprouts w/ Mustard-Caper Butter
    recipes from the Chronicle article above

Cardoon Stalk

more info soon

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Italian recipes


Chard

Available year-round, but best in the colder months.

aka Swiss chard, spinach/leaf/sea kale beet; red chard (green leaves/red stalks) aka rhubarb chard, ruby chard; green chard (green leaves/white stalks) aka white chard; rainbow chard (green leaves/multi-colored stems); erbette chard (tender variety).

Use stems as well as leaves; just cook them longer if they're thick.

Look for: Fresh green, unwilted leaves. Moist, crisp leaves and stems. Avoid yellow/brown leaves, leaves with holes.

Storage: Wrap in damp paper towel and refrigerate in plastic bag.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Roasted gypsy peppers stuffed w/ chard, almonds & smoked sheep's milk cheese, cannelini bean puree -- Adrian Hoffman at One Market
  • Spinach tortelloni w/ rainbow chard & beet greens, savoy spinach, pine nuts, shallots, thyme, butter & parmesan -- Annie Somerville at Greens
  • Roasted Rhode Island black bass w/ salsa romesco, fried brandade-polenta & rainbow chard -- Ross Browne at Absinthe
  • Rabbit stuffed w/ erbette chard & prosciutto -- Michael Tusk at Quince

Collard Greens

A staple of Southern cuisine, collard greens have a mild smoky flavor. Their dark green leaves are smooth and broad compared to the leaves of their cousin kale.

Smaller, more tender leaves can be eaten raw. Remove stems before cooking if they are overly thick. Wash well and then sauté or steam.

Look for: Collard greens with firm, unwilted leaves that are deep green with no signs of yellowing or browning. Wilting causes the leaves to become bitter. Smaller leaves will be milder and more tender.

Storage: Store unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. The sooner they are eaten, the less bitter they will be.

What's Cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


Cress

common name for >dozen sharp, pungent, small-leaf plants: watercress, upland cress, curly cress, land cress, pepper cress, nasturtium, yellow rocket...

Can be eaten raw or cooked. Great in salads, sandwiches, soups, wilted with meats, as a garnish.

Look for: Deep green, whole leaves.

Storage: Wash, dry and refrigerate in plastic bag. Or, remove rubber band, stand stems in water & refrigerate with plastic cover.

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Butter lettuce, dandelion greens, treviso radicchio & curly cress w/ sundried tomatoes, olives, croutons, shaved Vella mezzo secco & champagne shallot vinaigrette -- Annie Somerville at Greens
  • Romaine, apple & wild watercress salad w/ shaved fennel, parmesan reggiano, toasted pecans, apple cider vinaigrette -- Shigefumi Tachibe at Chaya Brasserie
  • Poached tuna salad w/ fennel, field greens, watercress, red onion & lemon vinaigrette -- Mark Gordon at Rose's Cafe
  • Sweet corn pancakes w/ cool marinated dungeness crab & upland cress -- Brad Levy at Firefly

Endive

Available year-round, but peaks November-April.

aka Belgian endive, French endive, witloof, witloof chicory, chicon. (Other varieties include escarole and curly endive, aka frisée.)

Spear-shaped leaves are often used raw in hors d'ouevres or mixed with salads of stronger or creamy flavors. Their bitterness mellows when cooked, so they're often blanched, sauteed or baked.

Look for: Smaller, well-shaped heads with yellow (or red) tips and tightly packed leaves. Avoid those with dry, flabby leaves or brown spots.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag.

What's cooking:
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


Fennel

aka sweet fennel. The Zefa fino variety has a larger bulb.

The stalky, crisp, layered bulb is the commonly used part of fennel. The celery-like stalks and dill-like fronds are sometimes used in soups or stocks. Every part of the fennel plant has a distinct licorice/anise flavor and aroma, which mellows when cooked.

Fennel bulbs are very versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked. They're often sliced into salads or as a crudité, or sautéed, braised, and added to sauces.

Look for: Larger bulbs with a pearly sheen and fluffy fronds. Avoid fennel with split, shriveled, dry, or spotted bulbs, or those with the stalks cut off.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for only a few days.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Fennel bisque w/ gruyere crouton -- Curt Clingman & Mary Jo Thoresen at Jojo
  • Fennel & radicchio salad w/ green apple, manchego, romaine hearts & toasted hazelnuts, tossed w/ balsamic vinaigrette -- Sascha Weiss at Lettus Cafe Organic
  • Shaved artichoke, mushroom & fennel salad w/ parmesan cheese & truffle oil -- at Michael Wild & Louis Le Gassic at Baywolf
  • Grilled fennel pizza w/ roasted tomatoes, picholine olives, gruyere, fontina, & parmesan cheese -- Annie Somerville at Greens
  • Georgia white shrimp wood-roasted w/ Meyer lemon & fennel -- Jean-Pierre Moulle & Kelsi Kerr at Chez Panisse
  • Grilled Mahi mahi w/ griddled fennel risotto cake -- Brad Levy at Firefly
  • Liberty Farms duck breast w/ braised fennel & seasonal figs, creamy polenta & rosemary -- Robbie Lewis at Jardiniere

CURLY KALE
aka WINTERBOR KALE
LACINATO KALE
aka DINO KALE
RED RUSSIAN KALE

Kale

Kale is increasing in popularity as more varieties are grown in our local region, and more healthful restaurants are serving them for their nutritional value.

The different varieties have somewhat similar flavor, but Curly (or Winterbor) kale has ruffled edges, Lacinato kale has long, thin, bumpy leaves and a delicate texture, and Red Russian kale has thicker, flat leaves.

Remove and discard the tough center stalks before cooking - usually steamed or sauteed.

Look for: Fresh, plump, crisp leaves. Avoid kale with yellow, flabby, brown or slimy leaves.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Spicy Red w/ Green smoothie w/ beets, kale, celery, apple, ginger -- Sascha Weiss at Lettus Cafe Organic
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Kohlrabi

aka cabbage turnip, turnip cabbage, stem cabbage.

Kohlrabi resembles a turnip with broccoli-like leaves. The bulb (actually part of the stem that grows above ground) tastes like broccoli or cabbage with radish-like hotness and turnip-like sweetness.

Can be eaten raw or cooked. If raw, peel before using. Slice or shred and add it to salads for extra crunch. If cooked, roast, stir-fry, boil, or bake. Mash with potatoes or add to stews. Sauté or steam the greens.

Look for: Small to medium-sized kohlrabi with small, smooth bulbs and firm green leaves.

Storage: Remove leaves and store bulb in the refrigerator for several weeks; leaves will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes


More Greens/Microgreens

Images below.

"For California chefs and home cooks, the salad bowl [has become] a culinary playground, tantalizing tumbles of bitter and tangy, of sweet, spicy, peppery." Heirloom greens and microgreens "offer chefs a lot of flexibility and range in putting together diverse flavor elements...and a different dimensional look." (More...)

Some of the more tender, delicate greens are only available in the spring and summer.

Look for: Crisp, evenly-colored leaves. Avoid broken, wilted, spoiled tips or stems. Smaller heads or leaves are usually younger and more tender. Older greens can often be braised or steamed if they're tough or bitter.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag.

What's cooking:

AMARANTH
– use cooked –
aka Asian,African,
Indian spinach
RecipeLand &
Nu-World Foods Recipes
BEET GREENS
– use cooked –
bulls-blood greens above
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
BUCKWHEAT GREENS
– use raw or cooked –
DANDELION GREENS
– use raw or cooked –
Gourmet/Bon Appetit &
Farm Recipes
ESCAROLE
– use raw or cooked –
aka Batavian endive
Gourmet/Bon Appetit &
Farm Recipes
FRECKLED ROMAINE
– use raw –
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
FRISÉE
– use raw or cooked –
aka chicory, curly endive, riccia
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
LAMBSQUARTERS
– use raw or cooked –
young leaves on stem above
Farm Recipes
LOLLO ROSSA
– use raw –
aka radicchio of lettuces
MÂCHE
– use raw or cooked –
aka lamb's lettuce, corn salad
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
MIZUNA
– use raw or cooked –
aka Japanese greens, spider mustard
Gourmet/Bon Appetit &
Farm Recipes
MUSTARD GREENS
– use raw or cooked –
baby red mustard above
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
NETTLES
– use cooked –
aka stinging nettles
Farm Recipes
ORACH
– use raw or cooked –
aka magenta/red orach, mountain spinach
Farm Recipes
PURSLANE
– use raw or cooked –
Gourmet/Bon Appetit &
Farm Recipes
RADICCHIO
– use raw or cooked –
aka red chicory, chioggia (round), treviso (elongated)
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes
TATSOI
– use raw or cooked –
Gourmet/Bon Appetit &
Farm Recipes

  • Savoy spinach salad w/ escarole, red dandelion w/ feta, croutons, kalamata olives, red onions, garlic, mint, sherry vinegar & hot olive oil -- Annie Somerville at Greens
  • Grilled treviso radicchio salad w/ pears & Roquefort -- Bruce Hill at Bix
  • House smoked salmon and crisp frisée salad sandwich with crème fraiche vinaigrette -- Bridget Batson at Hawthorne Lane
  • Pizza w/ treviso radicchio, spring onions, mozzarella, Roquefort -- John Clark & Gayle Pirie at Foreign Cinema
  • Petrale sole soufflé w/ caper butter & mâche -- Adrian Hoffman at One Market
  • Orecchiette pasta tossed w/ dandelion greens, chick peas & pecorino cheese -- Renee Schembri at Geranium
  • Trofie w/ nettle pesto, green beans & Yukon Gold potato -- Chris Cosentino at Incanto
  • California white seabass, mustard greens & enoki mushrooms -- David Vardy at O Chamé
  • Grilled mahi mahi w/ fresh herb vinaigrette, grilled haricot verts, purslane, red bell pepper, & green-tapenade-toast points -- Ross Browne at Absinthe
  • Salad of rare squab breast w/ tangerines, tatsoi & citrus dressing -- Haig & Cindy Lalime Krikorian at Lalime's
  • Duck breast w/ creamed nettles, caramelized salsify & dried plums, sauce au poivre -- Traci Des Jardins at Jardiniere
  • Spicy ground lamb crepinettes served w/ harissa & mâche -- Rick Hackett at MarketBar

Thanks to Star Route Farm, Knoll Farm and Heirloom Organics for lending their greens for pics!


Rhubarb

A vegetable most commonly used like a fruit, rhubarb has thick red or green stalks, inedible leaves and a sweet-tart taste. Hothouse rhubarb (aka strawberry rhubarb) is available in Jan/Feb. Field-grown rhubarb (aka cherry rhubarb) has a deeper color, more juice and bolder acidity, and is available in the spring.

Always remove leaves. They are toxic (due to oxalic acid) if eaten in large quantities. Eat stems raw or sauté. Use in baked goods or add to fruit compote.

Look for: Firm, crisp stalks with the brightest color.

Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.

What's cooking:
Farm Recipes
Gourmet/Bon Appetit Recipes

  • Pineapple and rhubarb crisp with ginger ice cream -- Phil West at Range