Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Collard Greens-yes, we grow 'em here!

Thanks again to Leslie Edwards for taking on another challenge...what to do with collards. 
I've grown collards for years, but have never been terribly creative with them.  I love them sauteed with a bit of garlic and sea salt.  But you can bet I'll try this recipe too.  

Thanks, Leslie!  You are inspiring.

The mere mention of collard greens brings me back to South Carolina instantly. I love my trips there and have become a big fan of collard greens. Southerners love their greens! A time-honoured tradition in southern kitchens, greens have held an important place on the table for well over a century. According to folklore, hanging a fresh leaf over your door will ward off evil spirits and a fresh leaf placed on the forehead promises to cure a headache. I can’t say I have tried either of these but I do know that collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, calcium, and dietary fiber. 
The traditional way to cook collards is to boil or simmer them slowly with a piece of salt pork or ham hock for a long time until they are very soft. In search of a new way to cook collards I came across a recipe in Vegetarian Times (yes, even carnivores read veggie mags) for Collard Green Phyllo Triangles. 
Collard Green Phyllo Triangles 
Makes 16 triangles
16oz. collard greens, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 large shallot, coarsely chopped
2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing phyllo 
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 ½  tsp. balsamic vinegar 
12 sheets thawed phyllo dough (6oz) 
1 small pear, peeled and thinly sliced 
Pulse collard greens and shallot in food processor until finely chopped. 
Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add collard mixture and garlic, and saut√© 5 to 7  minutes, or until collards have shrunk and are tender, and most of liquid has evaporated. Stir in the vinegar, season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool. 
Preheat oven to 3500F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Place 1 phyllo sheet with long side closest to you on clean work surface; cover remaining phyllo sheets with damp kitchen towel to prevent drying. Brush phyllo sheet with oil. Stack 2 more phyllo sheets on top, brushing each with oil. Cut phyllo stack lengthwise into 4 strips. 
Spoon 1 Tbs. collard mixture ½ inch from a short end of 1 phyllo strip. Top with 1 pear slice. Fold upper corner over filling to make a triangle. Continue folding triangle onto itself, across, and down to make triangle packet. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo strips, then repeat entire process with remaining phyllo sheets, collard mixture, and pear slices. 
Brush triangles with oil, and sprinkle with kosher or sea salt, if desired. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. 
Per triangle: 68 Cal; 1 G Prot; 3 G Total Fat (<1G Sat Fat); 9 G Carb; 0MG Chol; 56Mg Sod; 1 G Fiber; 1 G Sugars 
My taste testers and I agreed that this is a great appetizer. We would have liked to have had more pear, maybe even have it diced up into the mixture rather than one thin slice. Also the idea of the addition of either feta cheese or parmesan would be a nice complement. 
The writer of the article suggested pairing these triangles with a wine such as a Gruner Veltliner (Austria or New Zealand)  or an Italian Verdicchio. “The pungent tang of the collards complements the earthy, mineral taste of Gruner Veltliner, while the greens’ delicate mustard flavours bring out the citrusy character of this off-dry white wine.” I don’t claim to be a sommelier, but I know the next time I make the Collard Green Phyllo Triangles a trip to the wine store to pick up this wine will be on the to-do list. Enjoy! 

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