Garlicky Collard Greens

November 28, 2013

So okay, I will admit, for a very long time I thought the only way to prepare collard greens was the southern way – stewed for like DAYS (okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration) in an intensely flavorful, salty broth that involved ham hocks and a whole lot of love. A few years back I discovered Brazilian and Kenyan cuisine, in roughly that order, and lo and behold, collard greens were simply sauteed and they were DELICIOUS. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good helping of stewed collards (and the resulting pot likker) but sauteed is much faster, and as I’m so busy these days, anything that gets food into my mouth faster?  It’s a good thing.

The goods:

1 bunch collard greens

minced garlic (I get mine from a jar, but even if you mince your own, the amount is up to you – and I use a fairly ridiculous amount)

salt, pepper, to taste

olive oil and/or butter

The method:

Get that stem out of the leaves any way you see fit (I usually just rip it out by hand, but you can cut it out if you like that better) and chop your leaves.  I usually stack a few on top of each other and finely slice them – think like chiffonade on basil, but with GIGANTIC COLLARD LEAVES HOLY CRAP.

Heat a few glugs of oil and maybe a pat of butter in your biggest skillet until the butter is melted and the oil is barely shimmery.

Drop in your garlic, stir furiously for a few seconds.

Add your shredded/chopped greens in handfuls, stirring between each addition.  This gives your leaves a chance to wilt down a little before adding the next batch.  Also, I’ve found that spring-loaded tongs (with silicone tips, if you’re worried about the surface of your skillet) are fantastic for sauteeing greens.  Stirring with a spoon or spatula invariably results in my flinging food across the stovetop, but with the tongs I can toss, mix, and stir to my heart’s content and the food stays inside the pan.

Sautee to desired level of doneness – I’ve had them just barely wilted, cooked all the way through, and limp-on-its-way-to-stewed.  I’ve liked it in every form.  Add salt and pepper to taste. (And a bit of red pepper flake, if you’re me, because why not?)

This also works delightfully well with kale, by the way.  I like to punch up the kale by adding a little splash of lemon juice or balsamic vinegar right at the end.

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