Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Behold: Collard Greens

Collard greens from our CSA bounty this week.

The only time I’ve eaten collard greens is when they were cooked in butter and spiked with either ham or bacon, making them delicious, but also removing any remote possibility of being healthy.

And I’ve only ever had them with fried chicken. (Is it even legal to eat collard greens without fried chicken? If it is, it shouldn't be.)

But Ray and I weren’t having fried chicken, we were having grilled chicken. And in theory, the CSA is supposed help us eat better, so I searched for the easiest collard greens recipe I could find and landed on this one at Simply Recipes — Sauteed Greens with Pine Nuts and Raisins.

By some miracle we already had pine nuts and garlic so all we needed to pick up were raisins. So far, we are cooking with gas! (This is an expression Ray uses whenever something is going well.)

The first step — toast the pine nuts — went off without a hitch. (I am excellent at toasting.) But when I removed the pine nuts and added the garlic to the pan, things got intense. Lava-hot olive oil and burning garlic were popping all over the place, so I had to do a two-step away from the stove while it settled down. 

Pro tip: Be wary folks, this could happen to you, so go ahead and turn on that vent fan before you start “sauteing” this stuff.

The greens took longer to cook down than I anticipated, probably 7 minutes or so. (That may have been because I turned the heat down after being scalded though.)

The recipe calls for ¼ cup of white wine, but I wasn’t about to waste a bottle on collard greens, so I improvised with water with a splash of balsamic vinegar AND lemon. (The recipe says to use one or the other with water, but my greens and I live on the edge, so I added both.) 

Here it is cooking up real nice. Look at those pine nuts, so perfectly toasted.

At the end I added the raisins, pine nuts, red pepper flakes and water as instructed, let it boil off and then removed it from heat. 

As a result, my greens turned out relatively intact, which I think is how most people like them. But not me. I prefer mine an unidentifiable moss of green sludge and I wished I'd have cooked them harder and longer in more water. (That’s me.)

The Verdict:

A little Prince with your side of greens?
Pretty tasty. Again, I think greens are better slathered in bacon grease or ham, but what isn’t, you know? These were healthy and the combination of the sweet (raisins) with the heat (red pepper flakes) was a nice contrast. And it was super easy and fast to cook, minus nearly catching the stove on fire.

Ray said he really liked them but he is somewhat unreliable because 1) he likes about anything and 2) he’s too nice to complain about something I’ve made, so he can’t be counted on to be overly critical. I’ll work on him though. This is science.

The next few farm shares are mostly salad greens I believe, so I have a bit of a reprieve from coming up with recipes and cooking. Thank God. These collard greens liked to wore me out. 


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