M has NEVER liked collard greens. I was sad about this, as I always liked a good, pork-ful, slow-braised collard green. Since the CSA delivered a couple bunches of collards in the last week of delivery, I decided to go all in and make a full meal of collards, blackened fish, and black-eyed peas, hoping M would change his tune.
The secret to a bacony flavor without bacon? Smoked salt. I don’t know why it took me so long to start using this, but it’s amazing! And you don’t miss the meat. All the right flavors are there, and is just delicious.
For the collards:
- 2 bunches of collards, de-stemmed and chopped
- 1 T oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 C vegetable broth
- 1 T applewood smoked salt (to taste; it looks like a lot, but the salt I got is a very large crystal, so more is needed to get the amount right; also, I got the salt from Whole Foods, but I’ve seen smoked salt available at various stores, just keep an eye out.)
- 1 t crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
- hot sauce (we are partial to Arizona Pepper’s Organic Harvest sauces – delicious!!)
- apple cider vinegar
In a pot, heat the oil and sautee the onions for about 10 minutes until golden, add the garlic and cook another minute. Season with smoked salt and crushed red, then pour in the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, taste and adjust seasonings. Add the greens, stir to coat, cover, and simmer/braise for 1-1.5 hours. Taste and adjust seasonings again. Serve in a little bowl (you want to have the broth, too!), and top with a little extra hot sauce and a sprinkle of the vinegar.
For the fish – we used petrale sole – and heavily coated each side with the following rub for about 15 minutes.
- 2 T sweet paprika
- 1 t cayenne pepper
- 2 t black pepper
- 1 t salt
- 2 t onion powder
- 2 t garlic powder
- 1 t dried thyme
- 1 t oregano
After the fish has rested for about 15 minutes, heat a large cast iron skillet or pan to med-hi/hi. Add oil (it’ll smoke!) and then the fish. Cook the fish about 2-3 minutes per side, flipping once. Serve with fresh lemon wedges for squeezing over the top.
Lastly, for the blackeyed peas:
- 2 14oz cans of blackeyed peas, drained and rinsed (or cook dry beans appropriately)
- 1 T oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper, diced (I like red bell peppers)
- 1-2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 t oregano
- 2 t smoked salt
- 1/4 t cayenne pepper
- 1 t black pepper
- 1 T hot sauce (to taste)
- 15oz can crushed or diced tomatoes (fire roasted or plain)
- vegetable broth, as needed
In a pot, heat the oil and sautee the onion until softened and starting to brown (about 7-10 min). Add the garlic, bell pepper, and celery, cook another 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add the seasonings, and toast/heat through another minute. Stir in the beans and tomatoes, and simmer about 15-20 minutes until the flavors come together. If it seems a bit dry (depends on the liquidity of the tomatoes), you might want to add a bit of vegetable broth.
Serve over rice with extra hot sauce and maybe some chopped green onions or chives.
M is now a believer in collards – he’s since requested it 3 times! A complete convert – and all it took was some smoked salt.
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