Robust collards, part of the cabbage family, are a culinary staple in the South, where they're traditionally cooked in a long, slow braise. However, with their surprisingly mild taste (there's just a hint of bitterness), these greens also lend themselves to faster recipes and work with hearty and light flavors alike. They're chock-full of vitamins B6, C, and E, and are an excellent source of calcium, folate, and beta-carotene.
Their antioxidants may reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Choose crisp, dark-green leaves with no discoloration,and look for smaller leaves, which are younger and more tender. Once home, wrap unwashed leaves in damp paper towels, and store them loosely in a plastic bag.
Refrigerate up to five days in the crisper. Collards can be gritty, so before cooking, wash them in several changes of cool water until no dirt remains at the bottom of the bowl. Their thick stalks are too tough to eat and should be removed; to do so, simply cut them out with a sharp paring knife.
What to Look For: Choose collards with deep-green leaves. Avoid those that are limp or have yellow spots. The smaller the leaves, the more tender they will be.
How to Store: Wrap unwashed collard greens in damp paper towels and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator's crisper drawer. Stored like this, your greens will keep for up to five days. Wash thoroughly before cooking.
Spicy Collard Greens and Bacon
Serves 6 - EASY to fix
5 slices thick bacon
2 lbs Collard greens
1 Onion, large
3/4 cup Chicken broth
1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce or other hot sauce
Baking & Spices
1 tbsp Brown sugar, dark
1 tsp Red pepper flakes
1 Salt and pepper
Oils & Vinegars
3 tbsp Cider vinegar
In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add smoked meat, or bacon, salt and seasons and hot sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour.
Wash the collard greens thoroughly. Remove the stems that run down the center by holding the leaf in your left hand and stripping the leaf down with your right hand. The tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don't need to be stripped. Stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll up, and slice into 1/2 to 1-inch thick slices. Place greens in pot with meat and add butter. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done taste and adjust seasoning.
Serve with favorite dish as a side