A submissive side for the umami Goddess
Collard greens are an important part of the soul food pantheon. Commonly, they are boiled and served with melted butter. Though often tasty, and very good with brisket or fried chicken, I lament the loss of their characteristic bitterness, and how damp this can make them. As with many vegetables, I prefer to saute them dry, or almost so, which preserves the flavour and texture more faithfully, as well as preserving their nutritional value.
Indeed, collard greens are nutritional powerhouses, especially when prepared in this way. They are good for your bones, have noted anti-cancer properties, are good for your liver, hair and skin, and are rich in fibre.
Today, they played the submissive role on the plate to a glorious gift from Mistress. The slight bitterness and lingering crunch of this dish paired beautifully with the umami flavours and bright sweet and sour notes of her gift to me. I should like to encourage you to serve these with thin sliced pork loin dressed with a cranberry sauce, or with venison prepared with a rich gravy. They are robust enough to accompany pheasant or woodcock as well, or indeed any roast.
In many ways I think of Mistress as a bringer of umami. The “fifth flavour” is subtle but deeply satisfying, and its presence enriches all. She is an umami Goddess.
Salt and pepper did not feel necessary. Always taste before you serve.
- 1 bunch of collard greens, about 250 g
- 2 plump cloves of garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Olive oil q.o.b.
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Cut the root and stalk end off of the collard leaves. Cut the thick central stem from the leaves. Chop the leaves across the leaf, in nice, neat and thin slices. Rinse the leaves carefully in a colander and let drain.
Heat a small quantity of olive oil in a saute pan with a lid over medium heat. Mince the garlic. Toss in the garlic and cook until sweated through, about 1 minute. Squeeze in the lemon juice and then immediately toss in the leaves. Stir quickly to mix the garlic off of the bottom of the pan, and then put the lid on. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let steam for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid, taste for seasoning, adjust as necessary, and serve hot. Serves 4 as a side.