Happy Easter, if you celebrate. The wonderful season of fresh green growing things from the garden is cause for a celebration. I’ll be having greens for dinner, with some sausage and some dyed eggs.
This year I made all red dyed Easter eggs, since I like the decorating part. The Greek tradition is to make very fancy red eggs, and while I thought about getting elaborate with fingernail polish, I’ll go with just a side of red eggs.
The proper way to start this dish is to plant a garden in late February or early March, like the one above. Seriously, if you get out and do some tilling, plant either hearty salad lettuce and/or greens or, say, spinach or chard, you have the right element for this dish. On a day when those greens are ready, being about the size of your hand plus a bit, get out and pick a bag full.
For the particular salad I made, I used a mixture of arugula, radicchio, chard and escarole. Turnip greens, just chard, spinach, and other hearty greens will do just as well, and actually, I will be using some of those later for a meal made the same way. Fresh picked ones are the best. I also pick a couple of junior onions, with the tops. Other green growing things can also go in here, and I am a fan of mustard greens as well.
Wash the greens, chop up with a few tops of onions, put aside, and heat your pan. I use a coating of EVOO, and get the pan really hot while I’m slicing up a piece of sausage. For this dish, I used one of the typical packages of standard sausage made with ground meat in a casing of what you know is the guts of some contributor to the sausage – and I am perfectly okay with pork, beef, venison, and would be fine with lamb too but it’s usually not identified as one of the ingredients.
The sausage should be sliced pretty thin, about a quarter inch each for each piece. This of course, also can be bacon, but I prefer the variety in sausage.
When the pan is sizzling, add the sliced sausage, turn the pieces as they brown, and cook until slightly charred, is my taste – and there will be a bit of stickiness to the pan by the time I’m done.
Pour off the excess fat, leaving just enough of the pan juices to cover. If you’re more inclined to it, leave more.
Add the greens until the pan is just as full as it can be and still get the cover back on. Cover, and let sit.
Go set the table, put some garlic bagel chips and potato salad, maybe some chickpeas or other dishes on. On my table a few red dyed eggs will be my little surprise.
When the pan is through cooking in about five to ten minutes, serve. I do this one directly onto the plate, and may add a dollop of mustard on the side. It’s great with balsamic vinegar too, but not necessary.
Of course, if you live in the southern areas, you are already beginning to enjoy your garden, but up farther north, you are just planting. We in the south will pay for our early greens soon, because they will die out in the heat about in July while you are just getting going. This year, the drought has been extreme and I’ve been carrying several buckets of water down to the garden daily. The advantage has been that weeds didn’t thrive, so a minimum of effort has kept the garden very neat and orderly. Usually in June this is past history.
Your garden is the inspiration, and hopefully you are going to get fresh and just picked greens soon.