Collards are leafy green vegetables that are in the same family as cabbage, kale and broccoli. Although they traditionally make a once-a-year appearance on New Year’s Day, collards need not be forgotten during the rest of the year.
This humble leafy green is in season from January through April. Aside from being delicious, collards are a nutritional powerhouse, providing lots of fiber along iron, calcium and vitamins A, C and K.
In the South, they are typically cooked with fatback or ham hocks—tasty but not the healthiest approach. As a fat-free alternative try this simple method of preparation guaranteed to turn out terrific tasting greens. The secret is to season the cooking water to taste with salt and sugar before you put in the greens.
Start with about a tablespoon each of salt and sugar in a Dutch oven filled three-quarters full of water. Stir to dissolve, then taste the water. If the water tastes as sweet and salty as you’d like your greens to taste, then you’re ready add the greens. If not, add salt and sugar, a little at a time, until you get the desired taste. Add the greens (well-washed with stems removed and cut into strips), bring to
a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for two or three hours tll tender.
Serve with hot pepper sauce.