Growing up, I was always served collards prepared the same way: some kind of pork and stock, with maybe a tomato, some onions, and always cooked until they were dark olive-green. I love collards and, like all other greens, want them to be a bright color and have some texture. This quick, simple recipe highlights that strong collard funkiness and tastes deceptively rich for a vegetarian dish.
1 large bunch collards, rinsed well in several changes of water
1 bunch scallions
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional; to make the recipe vegan, omit the butter and double the coconut oil)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 1/2 cups coconut milk, homemade or canned
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Cut off the bottoms of the collard stalks, then coarsely chop the leaves and stems and set aside.
Cut off the bottoms of the scallions, then thinly slice the whites and greens.
Melt the butter with the oil in a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallions and sauté for 1 minute.
Add greens and sauté for another minute, stirring well to incorporate, then add the coconut milk and soy sauce and bring to a simmer.
Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the collards reach your desired doneness—7 to 10 minutes, or longer if you like your greens more tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
From Coconuts and Collards: Recipes and Stories from Puerto Rico to the Deep South by Von Diaz. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2018. Reprinted by permission of the University Press of Florida.
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