Collard greens can be savored in the traditional long-stewed preparations of the South, or they can be sautéed in olive oil and garlic, Italian style. However you like your collards, be sure to wash them well, because they can harbor a lot of sandy grit. (Soaking in a basin or sinkful of water so the grit can fall to the bottom is recommended.) Cut off the stems and cut the tough ribs out of the center. Candy maintains that the best collards come after the first freeze, so if she buys them during the summer, she puts them in the freezer for a while before cooking them.

For Southern-style stewed collards, Diana likes Alton Brown’s recipe. jinet12 uses Paula Deen’s, with a smoked ham hock, and adds a bit of brown sugar and cider vinegar. Everyone agrees that the only proper accompaniments to collards cooked this way are a large square of cornbread and a generous pour of the “pot liquor” that the greens have cooked in.

Another approach is to parboil and sauté. Parboil the leaves, cut into strips, and squeeze dry, then sauté in toasted sesame oil for an Asian flavor, or in bacon fat for a terrific side for pork or duck. Or cut into even smaller pieces and skip the parboiling—simply sauté the collards in olive oil with the aromatics of your choice (many people like minced garlic and hot pepper flakes); add a little stock and cover for a few minutes if you want extra tenderness.

Board Link: I want to try Collards

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