Seasonal spring greens—from frisee to mustard greens to dandelion

Spring is prime season for farm-fresh, healthy greens. Why not venture beyond “spring mix” and “spicy arugula” at the lettuce stand this year? Here are some daring and delicious greens to put on your shopping list the next time you head to the farmers market.

DANDELION GREENS

This is a bitter green. Eat the leaves and flowers raw, mixed in with “sweeter” salad greens. Add them to salad as you would endive or radicchio. Another idea: make a pesto—swapping out the basil for dandelion.

 

 

 

MUSTARD GREENS

This variety has fluffy, light green leaves. They have a fresh and tangy bite that is mellowed when you sauté or steam.

 

 

RED RUSSIAN KALE

A sturdy variety, it is best cooked. But even sautéed or steamed it has more of a bite than spinach. Sauté with olive oil, garlic and a splash of chicken or vegetable broth. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or fish sauce.

 

 

LITTLE GEMSThese mini heads have tasty, crisp leaves and come in pretty hues—from light celadon to soft pink. One of the best features: their “shelf life.” Place in the refrigerator in a plastic bag packed with air, lying on a damp paper towel. Lasts for up to a week.

SORREL

Leaves have an intense, lemony tang and come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes—from bright green arrows to skinny, tapered leaves with red veins. Eat the short, younger leaves sprinkled in a salad of mild lettuces. The large, more mature leaves are tastier cooked as a complement to a hearty main dish.

 

 

BABY BOK CHOY

This Chinese version of cabbage has a crisp delicate taste. Trim (only) the very end of the stem off. Simple side dish: put olive oil, garlic and fresh grated ginger in a sauté pan. Heat. When you can smell the aromatics, toss in cabbage. Sauté for 20-30 seconds. Add a bit of water, wine or broth. Season and serve.

 

FRISÉEA variety of endive, frisée has curly, pale green and yellowish leaves and is shaggy. Sometimes it is referred to as chicory. While it can have a slightly bitter flavor, frisée is milder than radicchio or Belgian endive. Adds balance to a salad, especially when paired with fruity dressings. Looks and tastes wonderful chopped up in a red quinoa salad.