The mighty collard. They’ve been eaten in the South for centuries and around the world since at least Ancient Roman times. African, South American, and Middle Eastern countries all have their own methods of preparing them as main or side dishes. Generally in the South, we slow braise ‘a mess’ of them with salted or smoked meat, onions, pepper, vinegar, and a dash of sugar (and sometimes tomato). It’s an all day event that can both warm and stink up a house. Summertime in the South where temperatures are hotter than the hinges of Hell is not the time for a bubbling cauldron of greens no matter how delicious the outcome.
If you still want to get in some of the great properties of collards (vitamin C, fiber, and antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer properties) but want to maintain your ‘air of elegance’ during the heat of summer, try using them as sandwich wraps instead. It’s a great option for those sensitive to wheat or grain and they are super easy to make, keep for days in the fridge, freeze easily, and pack a ton of flavor. For those looking to shed a few pounds in order to squeeze into your speedo, they only pack a few calories per leaf. You can also use the same preparation here and then slice thinly and add to cold salads. If you’re daring, try blanching mustard greens or horseradish tops to use as your wraps or in salads. It’s best to prepare a mess ahead of time and vacuum and freeze in batches to save yourself some work.
- Mess of whole leaf collards (usually come in 2 -3 bunches), stems removed
- Salty water for blanching
- Ice bath
Working in small batches, blanch collards and submerge in ice bath. Drain on layers of paper towels. Layer in groups of 2-3 leaves for each wrap and place in an airtight container for use during the work week. Alternatively, layer in groups, roll up, and vacuum pack. Freeze for later use.
I generally use 2-3 leaves per wrap, overlapping the slits where the stems once lived (otherwise your stuffing sneaks out). Spread your filling out and proceed to wrap like burrito.
I keep enough for 3 or so wraps in the fridge to use during the work week. I always have some on hand since we work in big batches and freeze them. No more running to the store for bread or wraps (they defrost quickly in their vacuum bag in a sink of warm water)! Thinner greens like mustard or horseradish take a little care in handling so they don’t tear. Try mustard greens with egg salad and bacon or horseradish greens with grilled beef. You won’t be disappointed!