Photo credit: Thadah Wah
Collards (or Collard Greens) are a staple of southern cuisine, but there are so many more ways to use those big, round collard leaves than slow-cooking them endlessly with a ham bone! See the recipes below for some unexpected flavor combinations that are guaranteed to change the way you think of collard greens!
STORAGE: Collards can be stored for 5-7 days. The key is to avoid excess moisture, so do not wash it until you are ready to use it. Wrap the whole bunch in a paper towel or tea towel and store it in a sealed plastic bag in your refrigerator.
RECIPE: Julia's Braised Collards with Peanut Butter and Hot Honey from Peter Meehan's Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables! (4 servings)
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions pick up some color, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and continue cooking until the onions are totally soft, about 20 minutes.
Add the sliced chili and cook for a couple of minutes to soften. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes until it starts to soften. Stir in the tomato paste, coating the vegetables with it, and cook until it darkens a few shades, 3-4 minutes. Add the cider vinegar and use it to help scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
Add the collards, a handful at a time, wilting them between additions. Pour two cups of the water into the pot, season with a pinch of salt, cover, and simmer the greens for 10 minutes.
Uncover the pot and stir. Add the peanut butter and swirl until it dissolves into the pot liquor. Add the remaining 1 cup water to the pot, cover, and simmer the greens until they are tender, about 30 minutes longer. Season with salt, if needed, and pepper. At this point the collards can be cooled and refrigerated up to 3 days.
When ready to serve, warm the collards. Grill or toast slices of sourdough bread until charred. Break into large bites and place in the bottom of shallow bowls. Spoon the collards and juices over the bread and drizzle with the hot honey. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.
Make the honey hot: Stir the hot sauce and honey in a small bowl until smooth. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Reserve for serving.
Recipe: Coconut Braised Collard Greens from NY Times Cooking (serves 4)
Cut off and discard any dry or wilted bits from the collard greens and wash the remaining collards in cold water. Transfer to a colander to drain, then coarsely chop the stems and leaves into 2- to 3-inch pieces.
In a large wok or skillet, heat butter and oil over medium-high until rippling. Add scallions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add collards and cook, stirring, just until wilted, about 1 minute.
Add coconut milk and soy sauce and bring to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until collards are cooked to your taste, about 7 minutes for bright and crisp greens or 10 minutes for darker, softer greens.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Recipe: The Kale (or Collard) Salad That Started it All from Joshua McFadden's Six Seasons (serves 2-4)
There are many ways to make a good kale (or collard) salad but this is the best one yet. And the dressing is good on loads of other salads too: try it on arugula, lettuce, or salad mix.