Skillet charred greens are just what they sound like. It’s a technique that’s actually remarkably simple and basically sears, blanches, and crisps the greens quickly and in a single skillet. (And you know what that means—a single skillet equates to minimal cleanup!) It’s a compliment-garnering side dish, which in our experience is not an easy thing to come by. Not easy at all.Renee Schettler Rossi

A pile of charred greens--kale and spinach--on a white plate.

Skillet Charred Greens

5 / 2 votes
Skillet charred greens are exactly what they sound like—greens cooked in a skillet until pleasingly, smokily charred until the greens are crisp at the edges.
David Leite
Servings4 servings
Calories115 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • 2 bunches wild greens, collards, kale, escarole, or even fiddlehead ferns
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Confit oil
  • 3 or 4 Garlic Confit cloves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 lemon


  • Wash the greens and shake them off but let a little water cling to the leaves.
  • Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic confit oil and cloves and let the garlic sizzle for about 1 minute. Add the greens to the skillet and then carefully add the water (it will steam and may splatter). Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and steam the greens for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover the skillet and increase the heat to medium-high. Add the olive oil and season with salt, toss once with tongs, and then cook for 3 to 4 minutes more or until the greens are charred to your liking. Add the cheese and let it melt over the greens for 1 to 2 minutes (or until it achieves the texture your cheese-loving heart desires). Remove the skillet from the heat, squeeze some lemon juice over the top, and serve right away.
Simple Fare Spring/Summer Cookbook

Adapted From

Simple Fare: Spring and Summer

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 115 kcalCarbohydrates: 3 gProtein: 1 gFat: 11 gSaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 8 gCholesterol: 2 mgSodium: 42 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 1 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2017 Karen Mordechai. Photo © 2017 Karen Mordechai. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

They were right. This skillet-charred greens is the simplest of recipes and easy to do for the beginning cook. I used kale the first time. I preheated the skillet to medium-high heat, added the garlic confit oil and cloves, and since the garlic is already cooked, immediately added the slightly damp kale. It did sizzle in the oil but didn’t burn the garlic at all. My kale wasn’t done steaming in 3 to 4 minutes. I waited until it was closer to 6 minutes as I didn’t want it to be chewy. Once the kale was tender, it did char quickly once I turned the heat back up to high. I noticed that as soon as I added the lemon juice, the kale started to turn slightly brown but didn’t seem to affect the flavor at all.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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