Mashed Potatoes & Greens

This recipe, adapted from Mark Bittman (NYTimes), is so good and so easy that it demands a place in our cookbook.

You will need equal parts of blanched greens (dandelion works especially well as does arugula) and potatoes boiled in their jackets.

Blanch the greens (don’t blanch arugula if using), drain, and cut into bite-sized chunks. Boil the potatoes till soft, peel or not as you prefer, then pour a goodly amount of olive oil over them and mash roughly. Adjust the potatoes for salt and mix in the greens.

This dish works well with almost any kind of greens — kale, collard, chard, dandelion — just adjust your blanching times to make sure different types of greens get cooked their proper amounts. If you are using arugula, don’t blanch, just stir into the hot potatoes to let it wilt a bit.

Mark Bittman’s original recipe, which comes from Liguria on the north-west coast of Italy, uses dandelion greens which lend a slightly bitter flavor to the dish, along with lots of good olive oil. At the end, he finishes by topping with breadcrumbs and toasting under the broiler for a minute or so to add a bit of crunchy texture.

However, toppings are optional, broiler step is optional, toasted seeds or nuts sprinkled on at the end are optional. The real key to this dish is flavorful potatoes (yukon golds, red bliss, something heirloom from your garden) mixed with garden-fresh greens blanched just to tenderness, and a fine olive oil. And just a touch of sea salt.

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