My mom was from the deep south - an Alabama girl - and although I was raised in Pennsylvania, we frequently saw traditional southern dishes at breakfast and dinner. Grits, okra, and collard greens. As a young girl I thought it was all pretty ghastly and couldn't understand why we couldn't have more cheeseburgers and french fries. My tastes matured through the years, but I still couldn't go near those collard greens. I belong to a farm CSA now and for 3 boxes in a row at the bottom of each box, there lay a bundled bunch of the dreaded collard greens. Each week, by the time I got to cooking them (in theory at least) they were all yellowed. Oh darn, I'd think, I guess I'll just have to throw them away. No guilt involved at all. So this week, when they showed up AGAIN, I thought OK, I need to at least give these little guys a chance. I boiled them for quite awhile in a kind of aciduated water with lemon, garlic, salt and several slices of smoked bacon. And then I tossed them in saute pan in apple cider vinegar and butter and topped them with bacon lardons and my candied garlic slices. The end result was a complete surprise to both my husband and me. We actually liked them. No, we LOVED them, and now I'm actually hoping for more collard greens in my next CSA box. My mom would be so proud. —TheWimpyVegetarian
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 3 slices of the bacon, sugar, salt, and juice from the lemon to the boiling water. Smash 4 of the garlic cloves and add them to the water, reserving the rest for the candied garlic chips. Boil the water for 45 minutes.
Tear the collard greens into pieces, discarding the central rib/stalk. Add them to the boiling water. Boil for another 45 minutes or until the greens are very tender. Drain well.
Slice the 4 remaining garlic cloves to make the garlic chips. Lightly sprinkle with a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat and saute the garlic until lightly browned and crispy. Remove and set aside.
Cut the remaining bacon slices into thin lardons and fry in the leftover oil from sauteing the garlic chips. When lightly crispy, remove and set aside.
Pour out bacon grease/olive oil retaining only about 1/2 - 1 Tablespoon in the sautee pan. Add the applecider and lightly simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the drained collard greens and toss in the cider vinegar / butter mixture to completely coat.
Remove the collard greens to a serving dish and top with the bacon lardons and candied garlic chips.
This is an amazing combination of flavors and textures when you eat it and can make a convert of those who are not collard greens fans.