If you are tired of eating the same old greens in the same old ways and want to try something new, Jenn Louis’ work, The Book of Greens, is full of information and ideas. Believing that greens should be an essential part of every meal, the author shares her expertise and knowledge with the hope that she can inspire home cooks to get creative with flavors and cooking methods. There is more to leafy greens than salad and sides, says the author, and the book proves her point with forty greens described and 175 recipes included.
The book is organized by the variety of green vegetable and arranged alphabetically beginning with agretti and ending with water spinach. Familiar ones such as cabbage, chard, and collard greens are included as well as more exotic ones like chrysanthemum, celtuce, and red orach. Each entry gives information on the origin, history, nutritional value, varieties, and peak season, with suggestion on how to choose, clean, store, refresh, and cook the green, together with ideas for taste pairings. The recipes run the gamut from fairly simple to complex and from almost traditional to totally creative. My personal favorites include carrot greens salsa verde, tomato leaf pasta, and risotto with spigarello but the familiar grilled romaine with three different topping ideas and five different ways to fix kale caught my attention too.
The recipes seem to be aimed at foodies rather than vegetarians or healthy conscious readers as a considerable number use meat, fish, cheese, butter, and eggs. Just as the greens come from many different areas around the world, so do the recipes and you will find some from Morocco, India, and Asia as well as Italy, Poland, and England and elsewhere. Especially helpful are the chart showing the best methods of using different greens, the seasonal chart, and the template for making a salad. Full page photographs of the greens and some of the completed dishes enhance the text. If you are interested in exploring new greens and new ways of preparing old favorites this book is an excellent choice.
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