BBC is proud to be in a working relationship with Chef Marta. She came to us through a member of our group. Although we started late in the season working with her, she has already came up with a few outstanding recipes from the produce that we grow. It is our intent to come up with creative ways for our customers to cook with the items that we produce and sell. I asked Chef Marta for a brief bio and was so impressed by the love and dedication to local healthy food. How lucky can we get!!!
“Southern” Style Collards
Serves four as a smallish side dish or two collard-lovers
In the South, Collards are cooked with bacon or ham until they are very well done. This recipe has the traditional flavors, but the greens are cooked until just barely done, preserving more of the nutrients.
¼ lb Bacon—Uncured Applewood smoked, if you can find it, but you can really use any bacon except a very peppery bacon
1 bunch (about 1 lb) Collards
1 medium yellow onion
Dusting of white pepper
1 ½ t of good balsamic vinegar (optional)
1) Chop your bacon into ½ inch pieces or smaller.
2) Peel and dice the onion to a medium dice.
3) Prepare collards:
Wash the collards under cold running water. Do not dry. If they are very dirty or have aphids (which is a good thing—it means they are not laden with pesticides) then soak them in a large bowl of cold water with a handful of salt for ten minutes and then rinse.
Fold the leaf in half lengthwise so that the spine is sticking out, and cut off the spine. You could just cut off the stem and leave the spine in. It is edible, but much tougher than the rest of the leaf and will require more cooking.
Make a pile of leaves, then roll tightly into a log.
Cut across the log every ¼ inch until you have a bunch of long pieces, then make one cut along the length of your pile, cutting them all in half.
4) Cook the bacon until the fat is rendered out and the pieces are crisp.
5) Add the onion, and sauté in the bacon fat with the bacon until it is soft and translucent, but not brown.
5) Pour off half of the fat, leaving about 2 T in the pan with the bacon and onion.
6) Add the collards to the pan. There will still be enough water clinging to them to provide enough steam to cook them. If you prepared them earlier and they are dry, add 2-3 T of water to the pan. Cover the pan and turn the burner to low.
7) Cook about 5 minutes, then stir them with the onions and bacon. Add a light dusting of white pepper and taste. They are done and edible at this point, but if you want them more tender add a little more water and cook them until you like them, checking every five minutes.
8) This is optional, and not done in the South: add 1 ½ t of good, aged balsamic vinegar and toss the greens together and serve
If you were in Alabama or Arkansas, you would skip the vinegar add some chicken stock and a ham hock at this point and cook for an hour or two. If in Louisiana, you could add some sweet and perhaps hot peppers, and maybe some hot sausages. Here in the West, we tend to like things a bit fresher.
“Northwest” style Collards
If you are vegan or prefer to avoid bacon, you can still enjoy Collards. Try them with sweet Walla Walla onions and some Marsala wine
2 medium Sweet Walla Walla onions
1 bunch (about 1 lb) Collard greens
2 T mild olive oil
3 large cloves of garlic
½ t salt
¾ cup Marsala wine*
1) Slice the onions into ¼ inch strips.
2) Prepare the Collards as above
3) Finely chop the garlic or put it through a garlic press.
4) Sauté the onions until well caramelized.
5) Add the garlic, salt, and marsala. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes.
6) Add the Collards, cover and cook on low for 5 minutes.
7) Remove the lid and cook another three minutes to evaporate some of the liquid.
8) Taste and add a little more salt of you think it needs it. Serve and anjoy
*You could use a white wine instead of the Marsala, and that’s good, too, but different and much less sweet than the Marsala.