I grew up eating fried cornbread next to bacon-infused collard greens, often for breakfast. My grandfather would rise with the sun, don his button-up flannel and loose Wranglers, and prepare a hearty meal that would keep his stomach humming for hours while he toiled in his vegetable garden and woodshop. The combination of rich, nutty cornmeal and those sweet, slow-cooked collards is a memory worth keeping. Here I’ve paired those well-suited mates in a more unusual but still delicious way. I think Papa would approve.
1 large bunch collard greens (1 1/2 pounds), stemmed
2 tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil (or bacon fat)
1 serrano chile
Fine sea salt
1/2 cup water
1/2 pound tomatillos, cut in quarters
1/2 serrano chile, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 corn tortillas
Seasoned and smashed avocado
Cooked beans (I use Rancho Gordo pinquitos, but any bean will do)
Sliced green onions
Chopped cilantro and/or cilantro flowers
Cut the collard greens into approximately 3-inch squares. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet or medium pot over moderately high heat. Add the serrano chile and a pinch of sea salt; cook for a minute or two (the chile will infuse the fat). Add the collard greens, 2 more pinches of salt, and the water; stir to combine. Cover the pan and cook for approximately 30 to 35 minutes, or until the greens are sweet and tender. Uncover the pan and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until all the liquid has evaporated. Discard the chile and stir in a splash of lime juice. Taste, and adjust the seasoning.
For the salsa, place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, and pulse until you have a coarse purée. Taste, and adjust the seasoning.
Compose the tacos: Warm the tortillas in a dry skillet (or a clay comal, a great tool for tortilla lovers) over moderately high heat. Top each tortilla with a smear of smashed avocado, a spoonful of cooked beans, a serving of collard greens, a spoonful of tomatillo salsa, chopped cilantro, and whatever else you want to fold inside.
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