Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lemony Sauteed Collards & Radishes with Spring Onions

collard greens with radishes
Here is a vegetarian & vegan-friendly recipe for collard greens that uses spring onions, lemon juice and radishes -- including the green tops -- for plenty of zesty flavor and a lighter, healthier impact than traditional southern recipes calling for fatback or bacon. The ingredient amounts are flexible and can be adjusted to your tastes and the quantities you have on hand. And by using the collard stems and the green tops of the radishes, both of which are edible and nutritious but often needlessly discarded, this recipe qualifies as thrifty by stretching the total number of servings possible. Just make sure you select radishes with tops that are green and fresh-looking rather than limp, yellow or brown.

1 large bunch collards, washed
1 bunch radishes with greens attached
2 to 3 Tbs olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large spring onion* or 3-4 regular green onions
Juice of half a lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste (omit if you prefer a milder flavor)

*Note: I use the term "spring onion" to refer to immature onions typically available from farmers in the spring. They look like ordinary green onions on steroids, i.e., with a fairly large white bulb almost the size of a small shallot and two or more times larger than the white bottoms of the green onions found year-round at supermarkets.

Trim the stems from the collards, cutting off any tough ends, then chop the stems into small pieces and set aside. Thoroughly wash the radishes under running water, being sure to remove any grit from the leaves. Trim the radishes, reserving the green tops. Discard any wilted yellowed or brownish radish leaves and stems. Thinly slice the radishes -- if any are large, you can cut in half first. Thinly slice the spring onion or green onions, including the green part. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat, then add collard stems, radishes, garlic & onion and cook, stirring regularly, until just tender. 

collards and radishes
While that is cooking, thinly slice the collard greens into strips:  I grasp several leaves in a stack and roll up together lengthwise as if making a cigar. Hold the roll firmly with one hand at the stem end and use a sharp knife to slice the "cigar" into about 1/4" slices. Place the collard strips in a bowl and set aside. Next, coarsely chop the radish greens and add to bowl with collards.

When the garlic mixture is just tender, add the collards & greens in batches, stirring after each addition to cook them down a bit before adding more. Once all the greens are in the skillet, sprinkle with a little salt & pepper, red pepper flakes if using, and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over everything. Stir well, reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, to desired level of tenderness. Makes about 4 to 6 servings.

Zestfully yours,

PS:  Feel free to splash on some hot sauce at the table -- Texas Pete is a favorite in the South for spicing up collards and other greens.

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