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Bert Greene's Kitchen

Some Wonderful Ways With Greens

October 23, 1986|BERT GREENE | Greene is a New-York based food writer

As a small child I dreamed of starring in the movies. Somehow I ended up stirring at the stove instead. But I must say that that is without a moment's pang, because cooks always eat well, whereas actors often do not eat at all.

The following recipes come from my book "Greene On Greens" and still star at the dinner table naturally.

My use of these favored stove-top ingredients is classically simple: It is borrowed from old biblical tales. In ancient times they reputedly seasoned all leaf vegetables lightly and cooked them quickly over hot fire. I do the same.

WILTED GREENS

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 large onion, minced

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped

1/2 cup chopped basil leaves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

4 to 5 cups trimmed, roughly chopped mixed greens, such as chard, collards, turnip, blanched mustard, dandelions, arugula, sorrel

Salt, pepper

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in onion. Cook 1 minute. Stir in garlic. Cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil and ginger. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in greens and cook, covered, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.

Fennel is a fibrous vegetable that is practically weightless. A half-pound of raw fennel is low in calories and high in vitamins.

GOODWIVES' BRAISED FENNEL

1 large or 2 medium heads fennel

Boiling salted water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped

Dash dried thyme

1/4 cup beef broth

1 1/2 teaspoons anise liqueur

Salt, pepper

Trim stems from fennel and peel bottoms. Chop fronds and reserve. Chop bulb and cook in boiling salted water 2 minutes. Drain.

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion. Cook until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, thyme, broth and drained chopped fennel. Cook, covered, over low heat until tender, about 25 minutes.

Remove cover from saucepan and cook until excess liquid has evaporated. Add anise liqueur, increase heat slightly and cook 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped fennel fronds. Makes 4 servings.

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