While attending macrobiotic culinary school, I was taught to not blanch onions. Supposedly this was because they lose too much flavor and so they aren’t appropriate for that style of cooking. I was also taught to blanch each vegetable separately. Then I met Jane Stanchich, one chef who taught me that there is more than one way to do things in the macrobiotic world.
I assisted Jane in the kitchen at one of the workshops she runs with her husband, Lino Stanchich. If you have never met Jane, I would seek her out. You can reach her and Lino at Great Life Global. She is one of the most gracious and kind-hearted people I have ever met. I feel blessed to know her and to have cooked with her. Jane is a fabulous chef and makes delicious, satisfying macrobiotic meals. I learned so much in the week I worked with her.
While this post isn’t about blanching greens, you can learn about that here, this idea can be used for both steaming and blanching. It just involves cooking your greens directly with thinly sliced onion, or in this case leeks. It’s super simple, yet imparts a lovely flavor to the greens. Sometimes, knowing a simple and fast way to add flavor can make a huge difference.
Steamed Greens with Leeks
4 big leaves kale, collards or other greens
half of a large leek
unseasoned brown rice vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
1. Wash the greens. Remove stems and cut the tender parts into thin rounds. Cut leaves into bite size pieces.
2. Wash the leek and cut some of the leek or all of it into 1/2 inch circles.
3. Bring a steamer basket and pot with an inch or two of water to a low boil. Place a handful of greens and a few slices of leeks into the steamer and cover. Steam until the leaves just start to wilt. You can taste a bit to see if it seems tender. Just be careful to not let it steam too long. The greens should still be a nice fresh green when you remove them from the steamer basket. You also don’t want to crowd the steamer basket, so do about three batches. You want the steam to be able to reach all the greens evenly so they don’t get overcooked.
4. Serve the greens as is or with a splash of brown rice vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice.