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Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Collard, turnip, and mustard greens are the traditional "greens" of the South. Typically, a big pot of water with ham hocks, or some other flavorful cut of pork, and a sliced onion would be simmered for a couple of hours, and then the greens - triple-washed - would be added (turnip greens, in particular, are notorious for holding on to sandy soil, so that is why washing them three times is essential). Simmered for at least two hours, they break down to a very soft texture and the flavor is old-time good. Served with a big splash of hot pepper-flavored vinegar and some corn bread, this made a meal that the hill farmers of the South survived on during hard times. Now we cut greens into a chiffonade - thin strips - blanch them to help keep their vibrant color, and cook them again briefly with a bit of pork so they remain loaded with flavor.
Take several of the leaves at a time and stack them on top of each other, then roll them up tightly like a cigar and slice crosswise with a large sharp knife to produce very thin strips, called chiffonade.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath. Blanch the greens in the boiling water for about 2 minutes. Drain and immerse the greens in the ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain and squeeze dry.
Meanwhile, combine the chopped bacon with the olive oil in a large saute pan and heat until hot. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Toss in the dried chile and crushed garlic and toss until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Add the greens and toss over high heat until wilted and glossy, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the chile and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Nutrients per serving (% daily value)
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving, and using 2 slices of bacon.