Yid.Dish: We Love Collard Greens!

Well, let me rephrase that…we’ve been forced into eating them since for past few months they’ve arrived on our doorstep every Wednesday evening. We try very very hard not to waste the leafy green veggies in our CSA for a few reasons though neither my boyfriend nor I would purchase them voluntarily. Many of the reasons are common sense: we paid for them so throwing them away would be like throwing dollar bills into the trash (or compost?), we feel bad throwing away food because we are fortunate to have abundance while many go hungry, the local organic produce we receive weekly is higher in nutrients and therefore better for us but is also better for the world as a whole.

I guess one could say that oftentimes we feel like we’re doing a mitzvah by eating these leafy greens. However, there’s something else that my boyfriend does a good job of reminding us: since we wouldn’t usually buy many of the items in our CSA it provides us with the opportunity to broaden our eating horizons. Sometimes this is what keeps us going when we’d rather be eating something within our taste buds’ comfort zone.

Last week I let two weeks worth of collard greens pile up in the fridge (let me add that another benefit to the CSA veggies is that they often stay fresher for longer since they don’t have to travel as far and aren’t grown on large-scale farms) so I knew it was time to cook them up. I’m pretty far from being southern so before our CSA adventures began a few months ago I’m not sure I’d ever eaten collard greens before, let alone cooked them. I browsed the internet for tips and came up with a few ideas. I have to warn you, this recipe contains some fat – both olive oil and butter. If you’re worried about this check out Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. Now for the recipe…

1-2 bunches collard greens

1 tbsp salt (for water) plus salt and pepper to season later

1-2 tbsp olive oil (depending on how many bunches of collard greens)

1-2 tbsp unsalted butter – we use Straus Creamery since it’s local to us and organic (depending on how many bunches of collard greens)

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add salt. While you’re waiting for the water to boil “devein” the collard greens. I do this by just ripping half of the leaf off of the center “vein” in one piece. Cut each leaf into 3/4 inch strips. If you have a good knife you can cut a few leaves at a time. Chop garlic. Once you’ve chopped the garlic and cut all of the strips put the strips into the boiling water for about 5 minutes, put garlic aside. While the strips are boiling heat a large sautee pan with the butter and olive oil. Once they are melted add the garlic. Make sure the pan isn’t so hot that the garlic burns. When the collard greens are ready to be removed they should be a darker green color and should be pretty limp. Dump the greens into a strainer. Add strips to sautee pan and stir so they are coated with olive oil/butter/garlic mixture. Season with salt and generous amounts of fresh ground pepper. Cook about 5 mins and serve immediately. Please be warned that collard greens shrink quite a bit during this process. I’ve made this recipe a few times and continue to be surprised by the small amount I end up with relative to the bunches of greens I started out with. Also, you could make this recipe pareve by eliminating the butter.

I’m always looking for new variations so please feel free to share!

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