Collard Greens Gratin

4 oz. very thinly sliced country ham or prosciutto

1 cup coarse fresh breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 cup finely grated Parmesan, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 bunches collard greens (about 1 lb.), center ribs and stems removed

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Pre-reheat oven to 325°. Place ham on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until crisp, 20–25 minutes; let cool and break into pieces.  Combine breadcrumbs and 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium skillet; toast over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 10–15 minutes. Remove from heat and add thyme and ¼ cup Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Mix in ham and set aside.  Cook collard greens in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender and bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain, transfer to a bowl of ice water, and let cool. Drain and squeeze dry with paper towels. Coarsely chop greens and place in a large bowl.  Heat remaining 2 Tbsp. oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened and golden, 15–20 minutes. Transfer to bowl with greens; set aside. Reserve saucepan.  Increase oven temperature to 400°. Melt butter in reserved saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth and very pale brown, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, ½-cupful at a time; add nutmeg. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, whisking often, until thickened, 5–8 minutes. Whisk in remaining ¾ cup Parmesan. Add béchamel to collard green mixture and mix to combine; season with salt and pepper.  Transfer collard green mixture to a 10” cast-iron skillet or 9” pie dish and top with breadcrumb mixture; place pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until gratin is bubbling, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

A Simple Recipe for the Hearty Greens You Don’t Know What to Do With

Hearty greens

Toasted sesame oil

Soy sauce

Furikake* or toasted sesame seeds

Tear the leaves from the tough stems (if any) and boil in water until tender (1 to 3 minutes).  Drain the greens in a colander and push on them to remove as much water as possible.  Roughly chop the cooked greens and place them on a serving platter.  Lightly sprinkle with soy sauce and sesame oil and toss to coat.  Sprinkle with furikake or sesame seeds and serve as a side dish.  From The Farm to Table Cookbook by Ivy Manning

*Furikake is a mixture of sesame seeds, seaweed, and sea salt available in most Asian food stores.

Southern Mixed Greens

  • 3 lbs greens coarsely chopped
  • 2 ham hocks
  • 1 qt. water
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 med. onion chopped fine
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar
  • black pepper

Trim fat from ham hocks and set aside.  Put ham hocks in heavy saucepan and cover with water.  Add red pepper flakes and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 45 minutes.  Render some of the pork fat in a skillet, add onions and cook slowly until they begin to brown.  Drain and add to ham hock broth.  Simmer until meat begins to fall from bones.  Stir in the greens, cover and cook about 30 minutes stirring and lifting the greens occasionally.  Add vinegar and pepper to taste.  Put meat and greens on a serving plate and serve pot liquor in separate small bowls.  We use the nitrite-free ham hocks from New Seasons. We have also substituted smoked extra firm tofu for the ham hock with good results (you need to use olive oil to replace the ham fat) when we wanted a vegetarian alternative.

From Winter Harvest Cookbook by Lane Morgan.

Smoky Greens Sauté

  • 1 ¾ lb. greens
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup drained canned diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. smoked Spanish paprika (Pimenton de la Vera)
  • Pinch of fennel seeds
  • 2 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Chop greens, dicing stems and chopping leaves coarsely.  In a large, deep skillet, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add leaves and stems of greens an cook over high heat until just tender, about 8 minutes.  Drain in a colander, pressing to extract extra liquid.  Wipe out skillet.  Add the olive oil and heat until shimmering.  Add the garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until just beginning to color.  Add the tomatoes and paprika and cook until slightly thickened, a few minutes.  Add cooked greens, fennel seeds and a couple of tablespoons of water, if needed.  Cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.  Stir in white wine vinegar, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately. From Food and Wine February 2005.   NOTE:  I didn’t have smoked paprika, so I started the sauté by cooking ¼ lb. of bacon, cut into small pieces.  I added the garlic after that and continued with the recipe, using regular paprika in place of smoked.

Ham and Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Collard Greens

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • a 4-ounce piece cooked ham
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound collard greens
  • 1 cup chicken broth (8 fluid ounces)
  • 3 cups water
  • a 16-ounce can black-eyed peas (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Chop onion and garlic and cut ham into 1/4-inch dice. In a 3-quart saucepan cook onion, garlic, and ham in oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is pale golden.  While onion mixture is cooking, discard stems and center ribs from collards and finely chop leaves. Add collards, broth, and water to onion mixture and simmer until collards are tender, about 20 minutes. Rinse and drain black-eyed peas. In a bowl mash half of peas with a fork. Stir mashed and whole peas into soup and simmer 5 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper and stir in vinegar.

From Gourmet December 1998.

Greens, Sausage and Bean Soup

Note:  Use any green variety of kale, collard, turnip or mustard greens or swiss chard.  Makes 3 quarts.

  • 1 pound greens, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 cups onions (1/2 lb)
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 cup sliced celery
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 pound Kielbasa (Polish) sausage, thinly sliced (it is easier to slice if it is slightly frozen) (I used some chicken sausage and it was yummy)
  • 1 cup dry white wine (which I omitted since we do not drink alcohol)
  • 2 quarts chicken broth
  • 2 cans Cannellini (white) beans ( I used 1 and 1/2 cups dry Adzuki beans and cooked them separately before adding to soup – I think most types of beans would work well)
  • Pepper to taste

1. In 6 – 8 quart stock pot over medium-high heat, frequently stir onions, carrots, celery, oil, garlic, thyme, and sausage until sausage is browned, about 10 minutes

2. Add wine, broth, cooked beans, and greens.  Bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the greens are tender (15 – 25 minutes).  Season with pepper.

Green Garlic and Greens

  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil or other cooking oil
  • 3 green garlics, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp. salt plus more to taste
  • 2 slices prosciutto, sliced (optional)
  • 1 bunch collard greens, kale, or Swiss chard thinly sliced or chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional)

Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add oil. Swirl and add green garlic and salt. Cook, stirring, until wilted, about 1 minute. Add prosciutto, if using, and cook, stirring, until it loses its bright pink tone, about 1 minute. Add greens, stir to combine, add 1/4 cup water. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and cook until greens are well wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir, cover, and cook until tender. Depending on the greens used (chard will take a shorter time than the others) and your taste, this will take anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to taste, as you like.

Collard Greens Minerva

  • 1 1/4 lb collard greens, halved lengthwise and stems and center ribs discarded
  • 3 slices bacon, finely chopped

Stack collard-leaf halves and roll crosswise into a cigar shape. Cut crosswise into very thin slices (no thicker than 3/4 inch) with a sharp knife.

Cook bacon in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until crisp. Add collards, tossing to coat, and cook until just bright green, about 1 minute. Season with salt and serve immediately.

From Gourmet, January 2001.