Tips For Cooking Collard Greens
By Lynne Evans
Collard greens (Brassica oleracea) are loose-leaved like kale and spinach. You can eat them raw, although they are better when cooked.
Collard greens cook relatively quickly and are best sauteed in olive oil. However, if you are not a vegetarian, you can try cooking them with bacon for added taste. This is my preferred way of cooking them. Simply heat some oil in a frying pan and cook the sliced bacon first, until it is crispy. Then remove it from the heat and crumble it before putting it back in the pan.
Next add the kale and cover it with chicken stock, adding red pepper flakes and seasoning. Simmer for about 45 minutes or less, until the greens are tender.If you want to cook the greens quickly, slice them into medium-sized pieces and add olive oil to a frying pan. When it’s hot add the ingredients you intend using. You can add chopped garlic and red pepper flakes to spice up the rather bland taste of the collard greens. Add the greens to the pan and saute them for about four minutes, or until they are bright green.
If you have a slow cooker you can cook the greens with ham hocks for a southern-style dish. Use chicken stock and seasoning to enhance the flavours. It’s best to cook this dish over night. Be careful when removing the ham hocks as you don’t want to leave any slivers of bone in the greens. Then stir them. Let the hocks cool before attempting to handle them. You need to remove all the fat from the hocks and of course, remove the bone from each hock.
Put the meat back into the slow cooker and add the greens, stirring them so that the meat and vegetables are combined well. You may want to reheat the mixture before serving this traditional Southern-style dish.
If you are vegetarian, stick with the garlic and red pepper flakes and, naturally the greens, but add chopped spring onions, and some other greens, such as kale, and turnip and mustard greens.These go very well together and some chopped tomatoes would also help to enhance the flavour. To spice them up a little, you can add tamari, or the more usual soy sauce, smoked paprika (or a hot paprika), and seasoning.
These green leaves are very nutritious, containing, as they do vitamins K, A, E and B complex ones. As for minerals they have iron, manganese, and calcium, to name just a few. Why not cook some and give yourself a healthy treat?
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