Cryin’ Collards

When you think of collards what do you get? Some brownish green slop that, although delicious, has been cooked to death for hours, has lost all of its textural integrity and is, lets face it, pretty damn ugly.  This recipe is completely different. Because we’re going to remove the stems from the greens, we don’t have to cook them till next Thursday and our greens are going to be crisp and bright – the addition of the heat and citrus is really going to them to life. You can use this to convert all people who think the don’t like greens.

Musical Pairing: OverKill – Iron Bound. I came up with this recipe as a collaboration with High River Hot Sauces and its features their Tears of the Sun habanero hot sauce, I have to pair Over Kill with it because while I was at the High River Hot Sauce paprty I got to spend a good half hour talking cooking with bobby Blitz of Over Kill.

Collard Greens: 1 1/2 Lbs
Shallot 1/2
Kumquats 5
Cider Vinegar 1TBL
Dark Brown Sugar 1 1/2TBL
Salt 1 TSP
Tears of the Sun Hot Sauce* 2 TSP
Unsalted Butter 2 TBL
Lime or Lemon 1/2
Additional Salt

Method: To prep the greens, remove the stems. Place a collard leaf face down on your cutting board, run your knife along one of the sides of the stem removing that side of the leaf from the stem, repeat this process to completely free the stem leaving you with both halves of the collard leaf. Once they have all been stemmed, stack them and slice about 1 – 1 1/2″ thick ribbons, soak in water to remove any dirt then drain them. You can save the stems for veg stock.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the juice from half a lime or lemon (this isn’t for flavor, the citric acid will help keep the greens bright green). Once the pot is at a fast heavy rolling boil, add the green and stir them in. Bring the water back up to a boil. Boil the green for two three minutes, tasting the leaves at the two minute mark. You want them to be kinda tender but still have some bite. Once they are done, immediately transfer them to an ice bath to stop the cooking, once cooled place in a strainer to drain.

While your water is coming up to a boil, melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Dice the half of shallot and and add to the butter, saute for two minutes till onions are translucent. Slice the kumquats as thin as you can and discard the seeds. Add the kumquats to the sauce pan along with the brown sugar and teaspoon of salt. Cook for two minutes until sugar is dissolved and the skins of the kumquat is tender. Add the vinegar and cook for another minute then add the hot sauce and the greens. While stirring, cook until greens are hot. Taste and adjust salt and hot sauce as needed to get a balance you like.

*If you cannot get Tears of the Sun hot sauce, you can substitute it out for a habanero based hot sauce but be careful with the amount you use. If you prefer to use fresh peppers, you can dice up a habanero pepper and add a teaspoon of it (more for real spicy) to the butter when you add the shallot.

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