Collard greens are starting to make their way to the Farmers Markets in various sizes (the collards in the garden are still too small to harvest except as baby greens) but are generally still bright green, tender, and very fresh tasting. So, you don’t necessarily have to blanche the collards first before you add them to sautés. Cooked with heritage bacon and/or organic turkey sausage from the market, they are an “umami-laced” treat that still packs a healthy punch.
Braised Collard Greens with Bacon
4 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 hot chili pepper, crushed
2 bunches collard greens, stems removed, leaves cut into 2-inch pieces
½ cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Juice of ½ lemon
- Add bacon to cold large sauté pan, turn stove to medium high heat and cook until soft, just starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and crushed chili pepper. Saute about 1-2 minutes.
- Add collards, salt and pepper, stir to coat and reduce heat to low and cover pan until collards wilt.
- Add water and cover (start with ½ cup, add more if necessary to keep collards from drying out and burning).
- Cook collards until they are softened but still a bit al dente, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and adjust seasoning.
Making a large batch like this means you have enough for a side vegetable one meal and to add the leftovers to pasta for another meal. Here’s the same collards added to organic turkey sausage from the farmers market and handmade cavatelli from Arthur Avenue.