Saturday, June 18, 2016
One of my customers asked me how to prepare one of the greens to reduce the *bitterness* -- yes that is somewhat of a bad word for a greens grower, but I would like to talk about it. It's a valid question and I wanted to share a few thoughts on greens and bitterness.
There may be more to tasting bitter that lies in our genes as this article points out: http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/10/01/352771618/from-kale-to-pale-ale-a-love-of-bitter-may-be-in-your-genes
Here are three ways to deal with bitterness in your greens:
1) There is some evidence that bitter tastes actually stimulate the digestive system and helps liver function http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/natural-remedies/bitter-herbs-sweeten-digestion. Though it is not a super common flavor in our American diets, many of us can appreciate a good IPA or espresso that has some bitterness. Maybe the key to enjoying your greens year-round is to embrace a bit of bitterness and think about the health-producing and palette-expanding :) benefits they may be offering.
2) Balance the bitterness.
I use three main dressing techniques that I think help balance the bitterness in greens.
Firt, a strong flavored dressing. For me this usually means my go-to garlicky-salty dressing. I make a paste of garlic and salt in my mortar and pestle (1-3 cloves of garlic depending on size and about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt), but you can do it with a knife as explained here: http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to/mash-garlic-paste.aspx
Then I add about 1/4 cup olive oil and 1-2 tablespoons fresh (or bottled lemon) juice.
Second, you can balance with a rich or creamy dressing. A good homemade (or store-bought) buttermilk ranch or tahini salad dressing will help add richness to balance the bitters in your greens.
Third sweetness will help balance the bitterness. A raspberry vinaigrette made with Swallowtail's Raspberry Syrup some olive oil and a little rice wine vinegar is one good option for a sweet dressing.
3) Lastly if these tips to embrace, or balance the bitterness don't work for you, opt out of Swallowtail greens for a bit and try them again in a few months they are always changing throughout the year.