Sautéed Beet Greens and Spring Onions with Sherry Vinegar
(Subtitle: A soul-satisfying meal)
If you just want to know how to make a fast, simple, healthy and colorful side dish using fresh beet greens and spring onions, or how to take that side dish and make it a complete meal by topping it with an egg, skip over this next bit. As physically satisfying as this combination of foods is though, when I paused and thought about it, this meal was satisfying on a soul-ullar level as well.
I've shaken the hands that planted the beet seeds in open flats back in February, the hands that transplanted the young seedlings to cell packs, the hands that moved the tender beet plants into the fertile soil of the hoop house in April, and the hands that harvested those beets last week. [I deliberately left out weeding, because Farmer Josh tells me that they plant the beets densely so they shade out any potentially-germinating weeds.] I've shaken the hands that gathered the eggs, like generations have before them, on Keener Farm. I've even scratched the ears of the dogs and cats that live on the farms where these foods grew.
All of those experiences align in this bite of my lunch, and that makes for a much deeper connection to my food. I like that. If you have the opportunity (and this is the second state I've lived in where I've found this opportunity), try it some time. See that Local Harvest gadget in the upper left corner? Find a farmer near you by searching your zip code.
Have your meal satisfy you on multiple levels.
Sautéed Beet Greens and Spring Onions with Sherry Vinegar (serves 2 as a side or 1 as a meal)
tender greens from 2-3 beets (about 1/2 cup stems and 1 to 1 1/2 cups leaves)
2 spring onions or shallots (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon fat (bacon grease or cooking oil, you pick)
salt and pepper to taste
sherry vinegar (if you're a 'vinegar on fries' person, start with 1/2 teaspoon, if not, less)
Wash and chop the beet green stems. Slice the leaves into ribbons and set aside. Halve and chop the spring onions or shallots. Preheat a cast iron skillet (mine is 8 inches which is just barely big enough) over medium heat. Add your fat of choice, and when it shimmers, toss in the stems and onions. Sauté about 5 minutes until softened, then add in the leaves. Cover and let the water left on the leaves steam-wilt them for 3 minutes. Uncover and stir everything together. Season with a pinch of salt (I use kosher) and a couple grinds of pepper, then a drizzle of sherry vinegar. Serve warm or at room temperature.
If you want to turn this into a lovely lunch for one, dump the greens onto a plate and use the skillet to cook a farm fresh egg to your liking. I like mine sunny side up. Slide the egg on top of the greens--the combination of the creamy yolk and the beet greens is just irresistible. To my belly and my soul.