Nutritionally, collards are a goldmine. According to the USDA Composition of Foods, collard greens outrank broccoli, spinach, and mustard greens in nutritional value. A cancer-fighting vegetable along with kale and broccoli, collard greens are low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium, and B vitamins.
Besides all that, they’re pretty tasty. If you love eating spinach, you can appreciate a mess of greens like collards. I found this recipe in a very informative cookbook, Greens Glorious Greens: More than 140 Ways to Prepare All Those Great-Tasting, Super-Healthy, Beautiful Leafy Greens. It’s a great read for those of us who want to learn about different greens as well as cook them. I’m even using it to plan my small garden. Anyhoo.
HERE’S ALL THERE’S TO IT
- 1 bunch collard greens
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced thinly
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- salt to taste
Wash collard, remove stalks and stack 4 to 5 leaves. Slice into strips, about 1/4 inch side. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden and sweet. Try not to burn them. Add garlic, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden.
While the onions are cooking, bring 2 to 3 cups of water to a boil in a 10 to 12 inch skillet with a lid. Add collards, cover and cook over high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The greens are cooked when they’re tender but still bright green. Drain in a colander and set aside.
Add greens to onions and garlic. Add in vinegar, season with pinch or two of salt and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes to heat through. Serve hot, drizzled with additional olive oil.
Look for smooth, green leaves without any yellowing or insect holes. Avoid wilted greens; they have already lost some flavor and vitality. Try to find young or small collard leaves. They will be more tender that large leaves.
Store unwashed in a clear plastic bag, not tightly sealed in the refrigerator. Store in the crisper to prevent additional moisture loss. Collards are best used within 2 to 3 days.
The large and sturdy fanlike collard leaves are attached to a thick, heavy stalk and midrib that’s removed and discarded. You can use a knife to slice leaves from the rib.
Wash collards by plunging into your kitchen sink filled with cold water. Lift greens out, check to see if there is any sand in the bottom of the sink water, discard the water and repeat the process.
To chop, stack 4 to 5 leaves on top of eath other and roll into a fat cigar shape. Using a large knife, slice crosswise into strips. Experiment with different widths, from slivers to slices 1/2 inch wide, and see what best fits what you are cooking. Slices about 1/4 inch wide make an attractive presentation.