Author Notes: The best presents are the unexpected ones. On my afternoon walk I stopped at a neighbor's impromptu vegetable stand. When the mood strikes and he has produce to give away, he puts out a little table, a little box for donations, and whatever his garden offers up that day. I chose 2 bunches of collard greens - just picked and beautiful. Then, another neighbor stopped by to return some emptied jam jars, and to gift me with some Vermont cured bacon, and we sat down to 2 versions of this dish. I try to observe Meatless Mondays, so that's why this is a double offering. The vegetarian version is slightly sweeter and does not have the smoky taste so characteristic of a dish with bacon, but still lovely nonetheless. - Bevi
Serves 2 for lunch
- 1 bunch collard greens, washed, dried, deveined, and chopped coarsely to make 3 tightly packed cups
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- 1 heaping tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 cup seedless red grapes, quartered
- 1 handful walnut halves and bits
- 1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon butter for the vegetarian version
- 2 rashers of bacon (optional)
- If you are making the vegetarian version, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium sized saute pan. Add the chopped garlic and saute until the garlic is lightly browned.
- Add the grapes, and saute for about a minute. Then, use a potato masher to squash the grapes slightly to release some of the sweet juices.
- Add the walnuts, and a little salt. Pour in the lemon juice and allow to cook softly for another minute.
- Add the collards, and use tongs to toss the collards for even cooking. Allow to cook, tossing constantly, until the greens are soft and the ingredients are well blended - about 3 minutes. Salt to taste. Add the butter to silken up the greens.
- NB - For the bacon version, fry the bacon in the saute pan until crisp. Remove the bacon and break into coarse bits. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan, and proceed with the recipe - starting with sauteing the garlic. Do not add butter at the end of cooking.