Another one of those vegetables that we often have an abundance of in the early season but aren’t always exactly sure what to do with, collard greens are nutritious, with plenty of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Braised collards make a great accompaniment to meats like steak and lamb, and are of coarse a staple as a side to fried chicken.
2 bunches collards (approximately 12 oz)
3 tablespoons fat (I usually use extra virgin olive oil, but will sometimes go half EVOO, half butter, or will even use bacon fat, for extra flavor, if I have it on hand)
½ white onion, diced medium
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar (apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar works nicely too)
freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon honey
Wash collard leaves thoroughly in cold water. Shake off excess. Cut leaves off stems but running a knife the length of each leave on either side of stem (cutting leaf in half lengthwise). Cut leaf halves into 1 inch strips crossways.
In medium sauté pan with lid, heat the fat a little over medium heat. Add onion, stirring often, cooking until it begins to go translucent and soften. Do not brown the onion—if necessary turn down the heat.
Add collard strips to pan, turn heat back up to medium. Using metal tongs, turn the collards to coat in fat. Continue turning until all the collards have become bright green. Turn the heat down to low, add vinegar, a pinch of kosher salt, and a couple of grinds of black and give it a stir before covering the pan with its lid.
Stir occasionally as the collards braise. Add a splash of water if it gets too dry and continue cooking until leaves have softened (but not gone totally limp), approximately 12 minutes or so, depending on how young and tender the leaves are to start.
Add another small pinch of salt, a bit more pepper and honey. Stir and cook another minute or two until the honey has melted and combined. Stir again and check seasoning to taste.
Serves 2-4 as a side.