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All We Can Eat
Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 03/15/2012

Favorite ways to eat green for St. Patrick’s Day


What’s green, Irish and traditional all over? Darina Allen’s Fresh Kale Salad, one of the things we’ll be eating on St. Patrick’s Day. (Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)


We will not be eating this. (Z Burger)
As the Food staff will not be drinking green beer again this year for St. Patrick’s Day (with the possible exception of equal-opportunity swiller Tim Carman) or tinted fast food such as the example we’ve included at right or green eggs of the Dr. Seussian variety or cupcakes with shamrocks on top or leprechaun-shaped cookies, we instead share some of our favorite green things to eat, after the jump.

What are some of yours? (In case you’re looking to make your own corned beef, try this.)

Post food critic Tom Sietsema: I’m a huge fan of Brussels sprouts, which I like grilled, roasted, steamed, sauteed, or, best of all, shredded and tossed with lots of garlic and fresh ginger in a hot wok. I’ve made fans out of avowed sprouts haters using that last technique, which transforms the cabbagey vegetable into a rousing hot salad in mere minutes.

Also: I could eat pistachio ice cream all day.


(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)
Food/Travel aide Becky Krystal: I realize cilantro is one of those love-it-or-leave-it ingredients, and I feel bad for the contingent of unlucky eaters who taste soap when they try the leafy herb. I really do.

Cilantro is never an optional garnish for me. I use it in almost all my Thai, Indian and Mexican dishes. I make multiple versions of cilantro chutney, a condiment that I eat over eggs, use as a dipping sauce for nan, or, heck, drink out of a shot glass.

If I need a quick side dish, I’ll get a head of broccoli. I toss some garlic in with hot olive oil in a large skillet and let it cook for a minute or so. In go the cut broccoli florets to get a nice crust on the outside, after which I add some wine, stock or even water. I cover the skillet and steam the broccoli until it’s pretty tender (past the bright-green point), adding liquid as necessary. It’s easy and so healthful that I feel quite virtuous eating mounds of it.

Oh, and salsa verde beats out red varieties any day. End of story.

Staff writer Tim Carman: This no doubt says a lot about me, but I want a dish that goes well with beer, so I can pound down the pints with the rest of the lads. What better than quesadillas, that classic cross-cultural snack of pubs across the country?

This quick refried-bean quesadilla recipe calls for a salsa verde built from flat-leaf parsley, green olives and capers, not tomatillos. It’s an unusual salsa for an unusual St. Paddy’s Day dish. But c’mon: Let’s not stand on tradition here. The day is already packed with Irish pretenders.

Recipe/deputy editor Jane Touzalin: I perhaps more resemble Olive Oyl, but I identify with Popeye, the world’s most famous spinach fan. I’m overlooking the fact that he squeezed his fix straight out of a can and directly into his mouth.

I prefer mine barely wilted, quickly sauteed in olive oil or butter and with just one or two additions: garlic, dried cranberries, golden raisins, shallot, etc. (And eaten with a fork.) But I’ve also been known to bake spinach into a cheesy souffle. My guilty pleasure is spinach balls: what I think of as a classic just-out-of-college party appetizer, with stuffing mix and eggs and Parmesan cheese.

I was delighted when Food section columnist David Hagedorn jazzed up the usual recipe and created these. A tad zippier and more sophisticated than the original, but just as calorific. I gobble them down without embarrassment. I yam what I yam.

Interim editor Bonnie S. Benwick: I have a thing for dips. [Insert your favorite dip-related joke here, but leave my husband out of it.] Any kind of chimichurri that’s left over becomes a handy target for my spoon when I’m searching the fridge pre-dinner hour. If I have those small, crisp olive oil crackers for dipping, that constitutes the appetizer course, at least. When there’s Swiss chard and fava bean dip on hand, I can snack without conscience. The same cannot be said for the rich green curry aioli on my short list, but its flavor is intense enough that a swipe or two can tide me over.

I love an herby egg (not green eggs!), so my pal Najmieh Batmanglij’s fresh herb kuku is the way to go. It’s a Persian new year’s dish (a holiday coming up in a few weeks), but I’m thinking that with a slight variation it could end up on my Passover table in April.

And last, with Irish tradition in mind, I offer my new favorite way to eat kale, from Darina Allen . It’s a 10-minute, no-cook dish that’s akin to the kale Caesar making its way around town — but without the scary nutritionals. We’ve crunched the numbers.

Fresh Kale Salad

4 to 6 servings

MAKE AHEAD: The salad can be refrigerated for several hours or up to 1 day in advance. Adapted from “Irish Traditional Cooking,” by Darina Allen (Kyle, 2012).

Leaves from 1 pound curly kale, stemmed, rinsed well and patted dry with paper towels

Kosher salt, preferably Diamond Crystal brand

Freshly ground black pepper

Finely grated zest and freshly squeezed juice from 2 lemons (about 1 1/2 tablespoons zest and 1/3 to 1/2 cup juice)

1/2 to 3/4 cup light cream

1 tablespoon sugar

Finely chop the kale leaves (to yield about 8 cups) and place in a mixing bowl. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper (about 1/4 teaspoon each), then the lemon zest and juice. Toss to coat, then add the cream (to taste) and sugar. Toss until the sugar has dissolved. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve right away, or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

By  |  01:00 PM ET, 03/15/2012

 
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