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Friday, December 5, 2014

Recipes–Collards In Browned Garlic; Collards Low Country Boil Style; And Kale Al Brodo

Collards are a wonderful vegetable with lots of flavor and a particular sweetness unusual in green leafy vegetables.  In the South collards are usually cooked with fatback or bacon, but they are equally good with garlic and olive oil.  Preparing them al brodo, or in a soup with Bay Spice is lighter, but as fragrantly tasty.

Braised Collards In Browned Garlic

The only trick is to brown the garlic so that the caramelized flavor complements the vegetable. When browning, it is important to remove the pan before the garlic browns noticeably, because there is enough heat in the iron to keep cooking.  Watch it carefully and remove the pan from the flame at the first sign of color on the edges of the garlic.  If the garlic does not brown off the heat, replace it, and remove again. This sounds difficult, but if you pay attention it will not be.  And the payoff is worth it – a nutty, caramel flavor that you can only get by browning.

This recipe is delicious as is; but you can also add pine nuts and/or raisins to vary it, as in the photo below:

* 1 lb. fresh collard greens, cut into large pieces (stems included)

* 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil

* 5-6 lg. cloves garlic coarsely chopped

* 1 cube vegetarian, low-salt bouillon cube

* 4-5 shakes hot pepper flakes

* 10 grindings fresh black peppercorns

- Place the bouillon cube in approximately 1 cup of water

- Bring to a boil, breaking up the bouillon cube

- Add the collard greens and cook for at least 15 minutes until tender (older leaves will take longer)

- Drain well, and chop well (the chopped pieces should be very small)

- Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes to the olive oil and sauté over high heat (see above)

- Add the chopped collards and mix well.  Grind in the black pepper, add salt, and mix.

- Heat over medium flame for about 10 minutes

- Serve.

Collards Low Country Boil Style

Low Country Boil is popular in the coastal regions of South Carolina and Georgia.  Shrimp, corn on the cob, and small potatoes are boiled in Bay Spice.  This is a variation on that theme. 

* 1 lb. collard greens cut into medium-sized pieces (2” square, approx.)

* 3 vegetarian low-salt bouillon cubes

* 1 Tbsp. (approx.) Bay Spice or similar seafood spice

- Bring to a boil 4 cups of water and drop in the bouillon cubes

- Break up the cubes, stir, add the Bay Spice, and stir again

- Add the collard greens and cook over medium-low heat until they are soft but not overdone (15-20 min. approx.) The liquid

- Taste and correct for salt and Bay Spice.  Add more if required.

- Serve in individual bowls

Collards Al Brodo

This is a variation on the above recipe of Braised Collards.  Use the same ingredients, and follow these directions:

- Once the collards have been braised, add enough water to cover the greens and simmer for about 20 minutes.  They should be very tender because they will be eaten as a soup

- Serve

Kale Al Brodo

Kale or escarole soup is a classic Italian dish.  Both kale and escarole are high flavor.  The kale is much sweeter and the escarole has a slightly bitter taste (like broccoli rabe – a good bitter).  I prefer the kale.

* 1 lb. fresh kale chopped into medium-sized pieces (approx. 2”-4”)

* 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil

* 4-5 lg. cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

* 3 cubes vegetarian bouillon

* 3-4 cups water

* 2 med. eggs

* 2-4 Tbsp. cooked Navy beans (optional)

* 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

- Sauté the garlic in the olive oil until brown (see the above recipe for instructions), and set aside

- Bring 3-4 cups of water and the bouillon cubes to a boil, breaking up the cubes

- Add the sautéed garlic and olive oil 

- Place the kale in the boiling water, turn down the heat to medium, cook for 20 min. or until the kale is tender. Add salt to taste.  Add the Navy Beans (optional)

- Place the kale and broth into individual bowls, add the egg (which will cook in the hot broth). 

- Sprinkle grated cheese over the dish and serve.

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