Sautéed Mixed Greens

mixedgreens.jpgBags of organic arugula at the store always tempt me. "Buy me!" they say, "Eat salad for a week, it'll be great!" Of course after three or four days the bag is half full and the contents start to look rather wilted and sad. Then comes regret. Why did I buy that bag in the first place? Recently I found the solution to the problem of wilting greens, a problem that I'm guessing may also be yours. 

It turns out arugula is quite wonderful when lightly sauteed in olive oil. It's somewhat bitter and earthy but in a good way. It's even better if you mix it with some other greens. I use a bit of frozen spinach which is mild but silky and some fresh escarole which has a lovely spring flavor and juiciness when it's cooked. The mixture of flavors and textures creates a compelling dish that isn't just a terrific side dish, but begs to be layered in a grilled cheese sandwich. With or without ham or bacon, this is good stuff!

I buy arugula a lot. But you could just as easily use fresh but beginning-to-wilt spinach, swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, turnip tops or beet greens. Experiment! The amounts of greens are up to you and what you have on hand. I almost always have some individually quick frozen (IQF) spinach in the freezer but don't use it if you don't have it, this is all about cooking economically and making do with what you have. No garlic on hand? No problem! Want to use red chile flakes in addition to onion and garlic? Go for it! You have nothing to lose but some greens that are probably not ready for a starring role in a salad, Mr. De Mille. The basic technique is just to place the ingredients in the pan in order from most sturdy to most fragile. The sturdy stuff will take a little longer to cook than the fragile stuff, but we're talking only a few minutes.

Sautéed Mixed Greens
Serves about 4 as a side dish

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced
1 cup frozen spinach
8-10 leaves of escarole
1/2 a bag of arugula, about 4 handfuls

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and when hot, add the onion. Cook for three minutes, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, add the garlic and cook for just 30 seconds then add the spinach and the escarole. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Let it cook for a minute or two, just until the spinach barely defrosts. Remove the lid and stir, then add the arugula and stir. The arugula will wilt very quickly, in just a couple of minutes. Season with salt and you're done!

Amy Sherman is a San Francisco–based writer, recipe developer, restaurant reviewer and all around culinary enthusiast. She blogs for Epicurious , Bay Area Bites and Cooking with Amy.