Brussels Sprouts. Lima Beans. Kale. They’re fodder for sit-com dinnertimes, for feeding under the table to the family dog, for initiating conversations about starving children around the world. They’re bad veggie clichés and we’re supposed to hate them. Someone admitting a fondness for these reviled veggies might as well admit “Tax time is my favorite time of year,” or “I understand where meter maids are coming from.”
But we believe that these bitter greens can be redeemed. We believe that a long history of overcooking and underseasoning has given these pieces of produce a reputation they don’t deserve. We believe with the right cooking methods and ingredients, these bitter greens can lose their edge and not just be good for you, but great for you. And we believe the answer lies in bacon.
(oh come on, like you didn’t see that coming).
Seriously though, it doesn’t take a lot of bacon to transform a dish. A couple of slices can make a bunch of chard into something spectacular, or make some succotash succulant. We have a simple formula (some might call it a recipe) for making greens great. It goes something like this.
Bacon + Shallots + Reviled Veggie = awesome.
- Fry up a couple of slices of your favorite bacon. Remove to drain on a paper towel, reserving the fat in the pan
- Slice up a shallot or two and sauté in the reserved fat. You can opt for garlic here too, but the mellowness of shallots is a preferable pairing.
- Add your vegetables, prepped appropriately. Greens should be well-washed and coarsely chopped, Brussels Sprouts can be halved and quickly blanched, lima beans defrosted (if frozen). That kind of thing.
- Cook until done, but not overdone. This is often when greens go gross. Taste as you go. You can always cook things a little more.
- Turn back to your bacon, cut up coarsely (kitchen shears are rad for this) and add to the pan. Stir once or twice and you’re done.
The variations on this are endless, and it’s a great starting place for other dishes. Toss your bacon’d greens with some pasta for a great weeknight meal. Add some bread crumbs to those Brussels Sprouts and bring them to the Thanksgiving table.
Seem simple? It is. Feel like adding bacon to something healthy to make it taste good is cheating? We don’t think so, since you might have avoided those greens entirely if not for the addition of bacon, right?