Since our community garden and the local farmers market are bursting with fresh vibrant greens, I wanted to remind you of an old favorite recipe and share a new one.
In case you’ve forgotten, I am originally from Ayden, NC, home of the Collard Festival, Collard eating contests, Collard parade, and yes, even Collard royalty. I once dreamed of some day becoming the “Collard Queen”.
I have to be honest though, I was not a fan of collards! My family prepared them in the standard Southern style that involved a great deal of pork fat and resulted in what I though was a slimy green puddle. Yuck!
Now that I’m old enough to prepare my own greens, I’ve learned that like so many of our vegetables here in the South… collards were overcooked!
One of my favorite ways to enjoy them may come as a complete surprise. It is a Fresh Collard Salad. If you haven’t ever had collards prepared fresh in a salad, you are missing out. Please trust me and try this incredibly simple recipe- I really think you’ll enjoy it!
One of the other plants I have found in overwhelming abundance recently is arugula. To some, these spicy leaves are considered an herb; to others a lettuce. Either way their sharp peppery flavor is a fabulous complement for many dishes. I have to be honest and admit that until I created my plot in the community garden, I had no idea arugula plants could reach such enormous size. The dark green leaves of my neighbor’s plants tower over many of their lettuces and have helped me realize that the ever popular baby”Roquette” or Rocket is harvested far before the plants reach their full potential.
With their intense flavor and abundance, arugula leaves lend themselves perfectly to a spicy winter pesto. Since basil is no longer thriving you can use these alternate leaves and may find as I have that you like arugula pesto even more than it’s basil counterpart.