Thursday, March 29, 2012

Roasted spiced candied collards

I'm going to tell you about a vegetable that usually gets mistreated.  It gets dismembered, chopped, cooked past the point where resurrection (or recognition) would ever be possible, doused in acid, drowned in fat and then made to taste presentable with sugar.  Yes, I'm talkin' 'bout collard greens.

To be fair, I like collard greens cooked the Southern way.  There's something magical that happens when collards (or any greens, for that matter) have been cooked down with bacon fat, cider vinegar and a little brown sugar.  Sometimes I want to spread that silky deliciousness on a piece of toast or puree it and drink it like a soup.

But last night, along with some BBQ'd sockeye salmon (slathered and grilled with my friend Steve's incredible BBQ sauce) and the double-garlic oven fries (you don't have to twist my arm--the recipe's below), I did something to collards that made me want to eat them every night.  I roasted them with a little EVOO and a lot of Jim Tabb's BBQ Rub.  Oh my, my, my.  Tender, crispy, salty, sweet, spicy, I could have eaten the whole pan by myself.  And next time I will.

If you haven't made Jim Tabb's rub after all the noise I've made about it, get the recipe here and do up a batch for yourself (and for your friends).  It is an excellent rub and it's my favorite for pork, chicken and wild salmon.  It smells beyond fabulous when it combines with the fat on searing meats.  Now Tabb's rub is my favorite for collard greens.

Here's what you do to make some great veggies:

Roasted Spiced Candied Collard Greens 

1 large bunch collard greens, stems and tough ribs removed, torn into large strips and washed and drained
EVOO to taste
3 Tbs. (more or less) Jim Tabb's BBQ Rub

1.  Combine torn collard greens with EVOO and dry rub in a large bowl, using enough EVOO to coat collards evenly; use enough BBQ rub to coat at least half of each piece of collard.  Toss well to distribute seasoning.
2.  Roast on a baking sheet at 425 degrees for about 15 to 18, turning with tongs and tossing to cook evenly.
3.  Collards are done when they are dark green, glossy and some of the sugar in the rub is caramelized on the pieces.  Be careful not to over-cook or the sugar will burn.  Serves 2 to 4 people as a side dish.

Double Garlic Oven Fries
These are not just good, they're freaking good.  The freshly ground black pepper adds bite and a little fruitiness in the finish, especially if you use Tellicherry pepper.

2 medium baking potatoes, scrubbed well, cut into 1/2" wedges
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper (this is important to the overall flavor of the fries)
dried granulated garlic or garlic powder
2 small cloves fresh garlic, minced

1.  In a medium bowl, toss together the potato wedges with a generous amount of EVOO, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper and granulated garlic or garlic powder.
2.  Spread potatoes out on a large baking sheet and roast at 425 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes, until browned, crispy on the edges and tender inside.
3.  Before serving, sprinkle a little freshly minced garlic on each serving while the potatoes are still hot.  Serves 2 to 4 people as a side dish.

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