I’ll be the first to admit that I shy away from any dish called “creamed”. Predictably, my taste buds love the flavor, but too much cream or butter always gives me what we call in French une crise de foie (or “liver crisis”). That’s when you’ve eaten too much rich food and your liver recoils!
You may have noticed that I’m always measured when it comes to using butter or cream in any of my recipes. Fats are an essential part of a healthy diet, not to mention that they also allow you to taste food in a more intense way, but in my book they need to be balanced – never overdone.
So fats were very much on my mind when creating this recipe. How little cream could I get away with and have the collards still taste rich and – yes – creamy? It turned out to be much less than I had expected. A mere third of a cup did the trick!
These collard greens do taste rich, but it’s not because of the cream we add to them. First they’re blanched until super tender and chopped so they’ll absorb the cream and milk more easily. Then they’re sautéed with roasted hazelnut oil, shallots and smoky Pimentón Dulce – all of which add layers of flavor and depth to the robust greens.
So here’s to creamed collard greens that taste so good, and are so light, you can even indulge in a second helping.
Creamed Collard Greens with Pimentón Dulce
active time: 30 min
- 2 lbs (905 g) collard greens
- 1 tablespoon sea salt (to blanch the collard greens)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons roasted hazelnut or walnut oil
- 2 large shallots – skinned and cut in 1/4” pieces
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 2 teaspoons Pimentón Dulce (smoked Spanish sweet paprika – see sources above)
- 2 large garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Step 1: Rinse the collard green leaves and pat them dry. With a paring knife, cut the leaves off along each side of the center stalk/rib. Save the stalks/ribs to make stock and set the green leaves aside. Fill a large bowl with cold water and several ice cubes and set aside. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the salt and collard leaves. With the back of a spoon, push the leaves down so that they are submerged in the boiling water. Blanch for 10 minutes until very tender. Scoop the leaves out and transfer to the ice water bath. When the leaves are totally cooled (about 30 seconds), drain and squeeze all the extra liquid out. Set aside on paper towels. Top with more paper towels and blot any extra water out of the leaves. Place the leaves on a chopping board and coarsely chop. Set aside.
- Cook’s note: The collard greens can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated for up to 1 day.
- Step 2: Heat a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and add the oil, shallots and cayenne. Stir well and sauté for 2 minutes until the shallots have softened. Reduce heat to medium and add the Pimentón Dulce and the garlic. Stir again and sauté for 30 seconds, until the garlic has released its flavor. Add the collard greens and stir until they are warmed through. Add the salt, milk and cream. Stir quickly, until the liquids have been almost completely absorbed, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.