Sunday May 29
Barbara planted eight collard plants this year, and this was our first harvest. You want to take the leaves from the lower part of the plant, not the growing tip - otherwise it won't grow any more leaves for you.
Collards with Cider Gastrique (and bacon and shallots and pork)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/4 lb. bacon, diced
3-4 thinly sliced shallots
a basket of collard greens (chard or kale okay too), stems removed, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips
First, make the gastrique. Dissolve sugar in 1 tablespoon water in small saucepan over medium heat. Increase heat; boil without stirring until amber, brushing pan sides with wet pastry brush, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and crushed pepper (mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir until caramel bits dissolve. Cool.
In a big pan, fry bacon until crispy; scoop out and reserve, leaving fat in pan. Then fry shallots until brown, and reserve, again leaving bacon fat in pan. Add half of greens and sprinkle with salt; toss until wilted. Add remaining greens; toss to wilt, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until greens are tender, adding water by 1/4 cupfuls if dry, about 45 minutes total (may be less for chard or kale; keep tasting).
In the last 10 minutes or so, we just fried up a couple of pork tenderloin medallions, each patted with salt and fresh thyme, in a separate pan. When they were done, we plated them and deglazed the pan with a little white wine; the shallots went on top of them. Then we added the collards, doused them with the warm gastrique, and sprinkled them with bacon. American as apple pie - with bacon.