Seasonal Chef: Easy Collards Salad

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Collards, collard greens, or botanically acephala braccica oleracea, are a leafy green found predominately in Africa, Brazil, Portuguese and of course Southern dishes. Collards are extremely high in vitamins K and A, beta carotene and manganese. Their large flat leaf shape makes them easy to slice, blanch, puree, you name it. Smaller tender collards can cook up quickly into a quick side dish.

Collards

When purchasing collards you want to look for fresh firm leaves without soft dark spots. Keep in mind the larger and tougher the leaf, the longer you will need to cook it. You can store them in the ‘fridge for a few days in water with a produce bag overtop.

Truth be told, up until about a year ago I was not a fan of collards. The long slow cooking leaves them with a mottled green color, and I could never get past the odd flavor. So last year when they appeared in my Hilltop Hanover farm share I was skeptical. Needless to say, I’m  a collards fan now! The key is to look for smaller leaves. They should be close in size to a typical kale leaf. The smaller the better. The really large thick collard leaves will need to be cooked a long time to tenderize them.

This week I have a tasty and easy recipe to use with collards. I created this especially for an event I have been a part of for four years running: Healthy Kids Day. As a long time member of the New York Junior League, I participate along with many other volunteers. It’s a national initiative to improve the health and well being of kids. For my small part I will be doing a hands-on cooking demo with the kids, this coming Saturday at Grosvenor House in NYC. (Click the “Join Us” button to see the schedule.) Cooking with kids is always a plus, start them young and with healthy ingredients. You will be amazed at what they will eat, especially if they are cooking it!

Buon Appetito!

One year ago: Mustard Greens
Two years ago: Quinoa Burgers
Three years ago: Ramps

Collards, Quinoa and Fruit

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6 Servings

You can easily substitute the collards for kale in the quick dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ - 2 cups of cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup dry fruit of your choice: cherry, cranberry, apricot or raisin
  • 2 bunches of collards
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Zest and juice of one lemon, divided

Instructions

  1. Place the dry fruit in a small bowl and cover with warm water to plump a little. Set aside.
  2. Strip the tough stem from the collards. Stack and roll the leaves like a cigar and cut in ½ - ¾ “ slices.
  3. Heat a large saute pan with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the sliced collards tossing to coat all the leaves. (Add additional olive oil if needed.) Season with salt and pepper and saute until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup of water and let it evaporate, steaming the collards slightly, another 5 minutes. Add the zest of the lemon, toss and set aside in a large bowl.
  4. Drain the fruit, add to the collard bowl along with the quinoa and fluff with tongs to mix it throughout.
  5. In a small bowl whisk the lemon juice and olive oil to make a little dressing, to your taste. Season with salt and pepper and dress the salad.
  6. Serve warm or cold.
http://food.lohudblogs.com/2015/04/22/seasonal-chef-easy-collards-salad/

Collards, Quinoa and Fruit
Makes about 4 – 6 servings

1 ½ – 2 cups of cooked quinoa
1 cup dry fruit of your choice: cherry, cranberry, apricot or raisin
2 bunches of collards
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Zest and juice of one lemon, divided

  1. Place the dry fruit in a small bowl and cover with warm water to plump a little. Set aside.
  2. Strip the tough stem from the collards. Stack and roll the leaves like a cigar and cut in ½ – ¾ “ slices.
  3. Heat a large saute pan with 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the sliced collards tossing to coat all the leaves. (Add additional olive oil if needed.) Season with salt and pepper and saute until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add ¼ cup of water and let it evaporate, steaming the collards slightly, another 5 minutes. Add the zest of the lemon, toss and set aside in a large bowl.
  4. Drain the fruit, add to the collard bowl along with the quinoa. Fluff with tongs to mix it throughout.
  5. In a small bowl whisk the lemon juice and olive oil to make a little dressing, to your taste. Season with salt and pepper and dress the salad.
  6. Serve warm or cold.

 

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About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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