Who says greens have to be boring? These cheesy spring greens are quick and easy to prepare, take green leafy veg to the next level and are totally addictive!
Why spring greens?
In my Easy Lunch Box Caprese Salad post I talked about the fact that I needed to make a list of the remaining fruit and veg that I’ve committed to eat this year in my 5-a-day challenge. Well, the list is complete, and I’ve spent lots of time over the last few weeks recipe testing. I’ve developed loads of great recipes and am still working on more.
In that post I mentioned the fact that I have never bothered to cook spring greens. I always felt that spring greens looked tough and a bit inedible – the bottom of the pile when it comes to brassicas. I now realise how wrong I was. Fresh and tender, with a lighter flavour than a lot of other leafy greens, who’d have thought that spring greens could be so good?! Where have they been all my life? Or should I be asking where have I been all their life?!
So how do I cook them?
Due to this revelation, spring greens have turned up on our table a lot over the past few weeks. Simply steamed then tossed with a little garlic oil or butter and pepper, or even with a dash of olive oil and a tiny grating of lemon zest, they are gorgeous alongside a whole host of meat or fish dishes and really simple to prepare. But if you want something a little bit more special then give these Cheesy Bacon Spring Greens a go.
What cheese should I use?
Any cheese that melts well is good. I absolutely love using Stilton here. Reblochon and fontina are also good but harder to get hold of. And if all else fails, a good grating of mature cheddar is the perfect back up.
How did you come up with this recipe?
Cheesy Leeks and Cauliflower Cheese are regular features on our dinner table and I’m a massive fan of creamed spinach. So, I decided to head in that direction with my recipe development and this is the result! They are creamy and cheesy but not overly rich or stodgy. Definitely the spring time cousin of my Cheesy Leeks.
And if it’s not spring green season?
Why not use cabbage instead? Any green cabbage would be good but pointed is probably closest in likeness.
Make it yours.
You can easily make these spring greens veggie. Just leave out the bacon and make sure the cheese is vegetarian.
You can also reduce the fat content by omitting the cream and reducing the amount of cheese you use. If you are going to use less cheese then I would suggest using a nice strong cheese so you still get lots of cheesy flavour – Stilton would be good for this.
So how do I serve these greens?
I love these cheesy spring greens served just as they are for lunch with a friend, as a starter, or simply as a light main. You can serve them either on their own or with a loaf of crusty bread alongside. They also make a really good side to a roast, casserole or stew.
Cheesy Bacon Spring Greens
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 onion (finely sliced)
- 1 clove garlic (crushed)
- 250 g bacon (diced*)
- 1 head spring greens (about 300g)
- 50 ml single cream
- 150 g sliced or grated cheese**
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fry the onion and garlic very gently, preferably in a non-stick pan, until translucent and collapsing.
- Remove the onion and garlic from the pan and fry the bacon, using a little more oil if necessary, until golden brown.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
- Thinly slice the spring greens and steam on the hob or microwave for 3-5 minutes until wilted.
- Stir the onions and garlic, bacon, cream and a good grating of pepper into the spring greens. Add salt as you feel necessary remembering that some cheeses, especially blue cheeses, are very salty.
- Tip the mixture into and oven dish and top with the grated or sliced cheese.
- Place in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is golden and melted.
- Serve with crusty bread.