Winter's hardy greens, once the outcasts of the vegetable world, have suddenly become the belles of the ball. Whether you're talking about the Brussels sprouts and kale that are showing up on every gastropub menu (sometimes several times each), or formerly disdained dandelions, mustards and collards, these tough, sometimes bitter, greens are fashionable.
It's little wonder, really. With our appreciation for big, powerful flavors, greens fit right in. They're hearty enough that they can carry the meal in a vegetarian entree, but they also pair well with rich, fatty flavors, like bacon. Try stirring slightly bitter chopped dandelions into a white bean and bacon soup, for example.
How to choose: Greens should be rigid and firm with absolutely no sign of wilting. Any black spots are signs that the leaves are breaking down.
How to store: Keep greens chilled in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator in tightly sealed plastic bags. For extended storage, slip a dry paper towel into the bag to absorb any excess moisture.
How to prepare: Trim away any leaves that are wilted or show damage. If the leaves have tough stems (kale, mustards, collards, etc.) trim those away as well. Most winter greens reward longer cooking, with the exception of Brussels sprouts and other cabbage relatives. They'll turn stinky and sulfurous, so cook them briefly.