by Chef Linda Weiss
I can’t sit down with anyone and not talk about food. So, the other day
as I was talking to Lillie Blevins, the subject of food came up. And, the food
subject was collards.
like me, grew up in the heart of Alabama, but lives in Charleston. We both grew
up on the same kind of food, but our food came from an area that has
some of the richest soil in the US. When I think back about the taste of
vegetables when I was growing up, it’s easy now to know why they had the best
taste, because they grew in the richest soil.
Lillie was telling me that her mother, who still
lives in Alabama,
makes the best collards around. But, according to Lillie, she makes some pretty
good collards, too. I thought that maybe we’d try them together.
1 bunch collards
10 slices good bacon
1 teaspoon sugar or less, to taste
Salt to taste
Cut the large stems away from the collard leaves.
Stack a few of the collard leaves together and roll them the long way. Cut the rolled
collards into thin strips. Place the cut collards in salted cold water and
rinse. Repeat the rinsing about 6 times until all the sand, dirt and any bugs
are removed. Lay the rinsed collards in a colander or on a towel, but let the
excess water stay on them.
Fry the bacon in a large heavy skillet or Dutch
oven. Remove the bacon and add a very slight pinch of soda to the bacon fat. It
will sizzle and foam. This is okay. Turn the temperature to medium heat, and
add the wet collards to the sizzling fat. Keep adding the collards until
they’ve all been added. Lillie then adds a small amount of sugar to take the
bitterness out of the collards. Then add salt. Cook
over medium low heat until the collards are tender. This will take about 45
minutes. If the collards become dry, add a small amount of water or chicken
broth. Salt to taste. Lillie says one bunch of
collards will serve 6.