Thursday, June 19, 2008

Greens Fees

The first time I made these sauteed collard greens, I told one of my aunts. My brother called me two days later and asked, "Who told you you could fry greens?!" Now you understand my family.
Let's get to it. I've adapted this recipe. The original is from Chef Eric Wells in Cleveland. Grab a pot. Add some water. Slice a lemon or two in half and add it to the pot. Heat the water to boiling.
Let's get to work on the greens. Oh, the joy of cleaning greens ...

Grab a leaf. Inspect both sides. You're checking for excessive grit and bugs.
If all is good, fold the leaf in half along the vein and tear the leaf from the vein.
You should end up with something pretty like this.
Drop these beautiful leaves into the sink to soak. Use a good amount of water.
Remember patience is a virtue:
Agitate the water. Let it settle. Lift the greens out as gingerly as possible (to keep from disturbing any sediment on the bottom of the sink.) Place them in fresh water on the other side of the sink. Drain the original water and rinse any dirt out of the sink. Repeat this process until you don't find any dirt in the sink after you remove the greens. I think this picture is after the first soak.
You are now ready to cook the greens. Grab a few of the leaves and roll them into a tight cigar shape.
Slice across the cigar. If you were doing thin slices, the technique would be called chiffonade. We're making much thicker slices.
Place your cut greens into a bowl.
Your lemon-water should be boiling by now. Salt it liberally with kosher salt. Add your greens and cook for 15 minutes. Strain into a colander and then squeeze the excess moisture out of the greens. I just grab a small handful and squeeze by hand. You'll end up with little balls of greens.
After you're done squeezing, unravel the balls. I wish you could keep the bright green color, but oh well.

Now (actually you should do this while the greens are boiling), slice a good amount of garlic. You can chop, mince or press yours if you like.
Since this is for me and I love garlic, I don't mind biting into a toasty slice.
Add olive oil, garlic and red pepper flake to a cold skillet.

Heat on med-low heat until the garlic starts to sizzle. Once you hear that snap, crackle and pop, add the greens and toss them around to evenly blend everything. I like using tongs for this. Check your seasonings.

Plate and hit them with a little fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Watch out now! Sauteed greens!

Tools of the trade:

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