Collard greens & sweet corn buttermilk cakes with sumac-sour cream

Collard greens and sweet corn buttermilk cakes with sumac-sour cream

Wondering how to cook collard greens in a more refined way?

I think of collard greens as the most muscular member of the leafy green family. Indeed, even after being exposed to heat for a good period of time, the leaves remain quite firm. This, of course, makes collard greens an unusually versatile green veggie!

For these bite-sized pancakes, though, the texture of the collard greens needs to be more refined. So I resorted to cutting them in super-thin slices. This way they yield their wonderful crunch without compromising the delicateness of the tiny pancakes.

The minerality of the collards balances perfectly with the sweet corn, mellow buttermilk and tangy sour cream

Moreover, the collard greens acquire a distinct mineral flavor when sautéed. Both the buttermilk and the sweet corn come to balance that a bit, and to add a delightful sweetness to the cakes. The dollop of sour cream, infused with tangy sumac, adds a marvelous touch.

These savory pancakes are delectable as an hors d’oeuvre or finger food. But served with the sumac-infused sour cream on the side, they make a wonderful appetizer too.

Who says your collard greens should only be eaten stewed?!

Never miss a recipe... Join my mailing list!

Collard greens

Food & wine pairing: Galicia, Albariño with collard green and sweet corn cakes

White wine iconServe an Albariño from Galicia, in Northwestern Spain, with these delicious savory cakes. The lemony notes in the wine pair beautifully with the collards, buttermilk and tangy sumac!

Collard greens and sweet corn buttermilk cakes with sumac-sour cream

makes 16 bite-sized pancakes or serves 4
active time: 40 min

For the sour cream

  1. 1/3 cup sour cream
  2. 1 teaspoon ground sumac

For the collard greens

  1. 8 oz (225 g) collard greens (5 large leaves)
  2. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  3. 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
  4. 2 garlic cloves – skinned and finely chopped
  5. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the cakes

  1. 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  2. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  3. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  4. freshly ground black pepper to taste
  5. 2 extra large eggs
  6. 1/2 cup cultured buttermilk
  7. 1 large ear fresh corn – husk removed and kernels shaved off the cob
  8. 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  1. Step 1: Place the sour cream and sumac in a small bowl. Stir well and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Step 2:camera icon Rinse the collard leaves and pat them dry. Cut stalks off at the base of the leaves. With a paring knife, cut the leaves off along each side of the center stalk. Stack the leaves together, roll up tightly and cut in 1/4” slices. Then cut crosswise in 1/4” slices. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, cayenne and garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds until the garlic releases its flavor but doesn’t take on any color. Add the greens and toss until well coated with the oil. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until wilted, tossing frequently. Sprinkle with the salt, toss again and continue to sauté for another 2 to 3 minutes, until the greens turn a darker shade. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Step 3:camera icon In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Set aside. Place the eggs in a separate bowl and whisk until well blended. Add the buttermilk and whisk again until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, mix until well incorporated. Stir in the corn kernels and the collard greens and set aside. Heat a large heavy-bottomed non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of butter. As soon as the butter is melted, spoon 2 tablespoons of batter (for each pancake) into the pan. Reduce heat to medium/medium-high and cook the pancakes for 2 to 3 minutes, until the bottoms are golden. Flip the pancakes and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until the bottoms are golden. Add the balance of the butter to the pan and repeat with the balance of the batter as above. Place the pancakes on a large serving platter. Garnish each pancake with a dollop of sour cream and serve warm.

Sumac-sour cream

Viviane’s tip
  1. Can’t find sumac? No worries… Substitute the sumac for 1/2 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest and stir it in the sour cream. It adds a delicate lemony note to the savory cakes.

Collard greens and sweet corn buttermilk cakes with sumac-sour cream

finger food, buttermilk pancakes, collard greens, sumac


  1. I am an introvert – I never post comments about recipes that I find. But tonight I googled collard greens and buttermilk because I needed to use up an excess supply of each…and I can’t tell you how happy this recipe made me! I was simultaneously a 6 year old whipping up pancakes with my family (a favorite memory – I ate them straight off the griddle), and a 41 year old, eager to eat my greens and not let my buttermilk go to waste. And waste I did not. In fact, I ate them straight off the griddle :-). I suspect I will be making these on a regular basis. Delicious. Fast. Healthy. Economical. Can’t be beat! Thank you!

    • Viviane Bauquet Farre

      Hello KLB! Thank you so much for your comment – just made my day! I must say not too may people are into collard greens, so I was delighted to hear that you are. May you enjoy this recipe many times over… and eat those little pancakes straight of the griddle every time!

  2. Our local sturdy greens disappear for the summer and don’t come back until the weather cools off. I can’t wait to get some collards to try this! The sumac in the sour cream sounds great with the cakes.

  3. I’m not familiar with the term ‘collard’ is it an actual plant or a collective name ? The picture of the leaf above looks like it might be from a Brussels sprout plant or a purple sprouting broccoli, I’ve been growing these plants for years and throwing the leaves on the compost heap, what a waste !

    • Viviane Bauquet Farre

      Hi Ian! My apologies for this late reply… Collard greens are a brassica, of the cultivar group name Acephala (“without a head” in Greek) refers to the fact that it does not have the close-knit core of leaves (a “head”) like cabbage does. You can read more about it on this Wikipedia page: I have cooked with young broccoli leaves (the ones around the head), but not the mature leaves. I have a feeling they might be a bit too tough for consumption. If you try cooking with them, let me know how it turns out! Regardless, you should give collard greens a try – they have a very distinct flavor profile. Enjoy!

  4. I usually stir fry collard greens with garlic, ginger and pepper….this buttermilk cake recipe sound and look so delicious and much better than a boring stirfry. Thanks for sharing, Viviane.

  5. Looks delicious Viviane! My mother used to make a corn fritter, which was rather sweet. I like the addition of greens. I look forward to trying this.
    Is sumac powder made from the grinding of the furry ” fruit” berries of the sumac tree?

    • Viviane Bauquet Farre

      Niko, my apologies for this terribly late reply… You’ve probably made these since you wrote this note, and I hope you’ve enjoyed them! Yes, the Sumac spice is made from drying and grounding the berries of the Sumac shrub. I hope you had no trouble finding it in VT… Otherwise, there’s always Amazon! Bon appétit!

  6. Thanks for this lovely preparation, Viviane! I can’t wait to try it soon.. miss you guys!!
    Lisa Forman

  7. Pingback: Wild mushroom confit with garlic | Food & Style

  8. Pingback: Corn on the cob with sumac butter — food & style

  9. Pingback: Coleslaw with collard greens, kohlrabi and apple — food & style

  10. Pingback: Creamed collard greens with Pimentón Dulce — food & style

  11. I have never tasted collard greens, sounds like I’m missing out. Thanks for sharing your scrumptious recipe, Viviane!:)

  12. Pingback: This Week’s Menu | |

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.