As New York City was bracing itself for a snowstorm last weekend, I was going through our fridge, trying to figure out what to cook on a stormy night. I had some fresh tilapia and a few random items left unused from several previous FreshDirect deliveries. Among them, a bunch of collard greens. I was going to make this miniera recipe and top it off with some tahini sauce but then I unearthed a bag of garden beets - and felt a sudden inspiration.
Collard greens can be a little bitter and I felt like pairing them with something sweet. The beets seemed like a perfect answer. I peeled and diced 2 small beets into 1/4″ cubes and sauteed them with 1 thinly sliced large white onion in my new 3-quart Dutch Oven (that I like very much so far) with some butter, olive oil, brown sugar, a pinch of ground ginger, and a splash of jerez vinegar for about 20-30 minutes on medium-low heat.
In the meanwhile, I washed and de-ribbed the collard greens, rolled the ribless leaves into “cigars” and cut them into a chiffonade. Then I added some pecan pieces and a few cloves of sliced garlic to the dutch oven and let everything caramelize a few more minutes before adding the greens.
Traditionally, collard greens are cooked for a very long time. But the previously mentioned miniera recipe taught me that it is not at all necessary. You just let them wilt a little until they turn bright green. Then you turn off the heat, add a little sea salt and serve your chiffonade right away. You may sprinkle a little lemon juice or balsamic/jerez vinegar and finish the dish with some freshly ground black pepper but it’s entirely optional.
We had it with the tilapia fillets that I quickly fried in some butter with sliced garlic and spices (ground coriander, paprika & fennel pollen).
Here’s what they looked like together. So happy.
- 1 bunch collard greens, washed (with center ribs cut out), cut into a chiffonade (ribbons)
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 small or 1 medium beet, peeled and diced into 1/4″ cubes
- 1 Tbs butter
- 1 Tbs olive oil (optional)
- 1-1.5 Tbs brown sugar
- ground ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 Tbs small pecan pieces (optional – you can replace those with bacon bits)
- 0.5-1 Tbs jerez or balsamic vinegar
And that was our snowstorm Friday night dinner. We watched an episode of Revenge (which might have ceased being my guilty pleasure a few episodes ago and now we just watch it out of loyalty… Story of my life!) and that was it. No, wait, I also made a delicious leek-and-potato-and-rutabaga soup earlier that night (which, unlike Revenge, turned out really good – but I have write about it some other time), using some other random findings from our fridge.
Anyway, here’s what Hell’s Kitchen looked like the morning after the storm.