Monday, August 29, 2011

Sauteed Collard Green Ribbons

Our bi-weekly CSA basket was delivered today. Shelby and I have made a ritual out of opening the bag and taking all the produce out. We ooh and ahh over the (sometimes) funny-looking fruits and vegetables [Side Note: If you hold artichokes on top of your head, 2-years may think you look like Minnie Mouse].
I get a preview email of what's to come in the basket. I saw collard greens on the list for the week and my heart sunk a little. I am not a native Southerner. I have cooked greens once - for New Year's this year - because you're supposed to on New Year's! I attempted greens, and people, it was not good. All that braising and cooking and waiting for nothing. But, since the greens were a-comin' this week, I needed a plan.
I found a greens recipe on Bitten Word that seemed to fit my criteria: quick, addressed the "tired old greens" issue, and super-quick (did I mention that already?) I tweaked on their recipe a bit to our family's taste (namely: add bacon). I will tell you, this recipe is a keeper! I went back for seconds! I will make this recipe again if I see greens in my basket!

Sauteed Collard Green Ribbons

1 Tbs. malt vinegar
2 tsp. maple syrup
1-1/2 lb. collard greens (about 30 leaves)
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices bacon, diced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt

In a small bowl, whisk the malt vinegar and maple syrup.

Trim the stem from each collard leaf with a sharp knife, dividing the leaf completely in half lengthwise as you cut away the stem. Discard the stems; wash and dry the leaves.

Stack half of the leaves and roll them up tightly crosswise into a cigar shape. Using a very sharp knife, cut the collard “cigar” crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Use your fingers to unfurl the slices, which will be tightly curled together. Repeat with the second half of the leaves.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the pepper flakes, stirring to distribute in the hot oil. Add the bacon and cook until just crispy. Add the collards. Using tongs, stir and toss the collards until they’re coated with the oil, and continue tossing until they are slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Most of the greens will have turned a bright green, with some beginning to turn a darker green. Do not overcook, as they will become tough. Take the pan off the heat, drizzle on the maple-vinegar mixture, stir well, and transfer to a shallow serving platter. Serve immediately.

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