Ikarians still forage for wild foods, searching the hills, roadsides, and fields for the best of the season, including fiddlehead ferns, wild asparagus, nettles, fennel, wild dandelion, and other edible greens and herbs. Horta is the catch-all phrase used to signify all greens gathered in the mountains, fields, and gardens of Ikaria. They’re prepared simply and eaten daily; you can adapt this cooking method with your preferred greens.
8 cups leafy greens, such as dandelion greens, Swiss chard, mustard greens, collards, kale, escaroles, beet greens, or turnip greens, roughly chopped (and stemmed, if applicable)
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper (optional)
Rinse greens in running water.
Fill a clean sink or a very large bowl with cold water.
Submerge and agitate greens in bowl to remove any grit or sand.
Let float for 10 minutes, and then remove greens from bowl, leaving water and sediment behind.
Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Add greens and blanch them for 1 minute.
They will become bright in color.
Drain greens in colander.
Transfer to a serving platter.
Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
The Blue Zones Kitchen fuses scientific reporting, National Geographic photography and 100 recipes that may help you live to 100. The Blue Zones’ food tradition is going the way of the dodo bird, thanks to the encroachment of the American Food Culture.Learn More