While in Italy recently we thoroughly enjoyed the wide variety of different greens available. One green vegetable we bought a few times already prepared from our local grocery deli was labeled “verde di campagna”, otherwise known as wild Umbrian mixed greens. On a trip to the market shortly after I first tasted this delicious vegetable, I came across this huge bins of mixed wild greens that quite honestly looked more liked weeds you would pick out of your lawn rather than something you would actually pay for, cook, and serve for dinner but I decided to give them a try.
I brought home my huge bag of wild greens and soaked them in a sink full of cool water, then trimmed them of stems and brown leaves. Once cleaned, I could actually recognize wild arugula and chicory in the mix along with a number of other greens. Since some of the leaves seemed a little tough I decided to first blanch the greens in boiling water before I sauteed them. The final result was delicious and well worth the effort and I ended up preparing my own verde di campagna many more times during our stay.
If you cannot find wild mixed greens, you could create your own mix using such greens as arugula, escarole, spinach, chicory, or swiss chard. I found the mix of greens even more flavorful than a single variety and plan to always combine my greens in the future. Once prepared these greens are great as a side dish, as a pizza topping, stirred into a frittata, or in a panino.
Serves 4 to 6
by Deborah Mele
2 Pounds Wild Mixed Greens (Or Mixed Greens Of Choice)
3 Garlic Cloves, Peeled And Minced
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Cracked Black Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
Soak the greens first to remove any dirt or sand. Drain, and trim all tough stems, brown or very tough leave. Cut the greens into 4 inch lengths. Bring a large pot of salted boiling water to a boil and then blanch the greens for a minute until tender. Drain in a colander and press down to remove all excess water.
In a large saucepan heat the oil and then add the garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Before the garlic begins to brown add the greens to the pan and stir well to coat in flavored oil. Continue to cook for a few minutes more then remove from the heat. Place in a serving dish and serve at room temperature.