A Pinch Of Nutmeg Gives Creamed Collard Greens A Slightly Sweet Finish

A Southern cuisine staple, collard greens hold a one-of-a-kind rustic, humble charm that makes for a divine comfort food. On its own, this vegetable's boldly earthy taste and bitter tones may not seem too appealing at first. When cooked with a cream sauce, however, it's a completely different story. Recipe developer Jennine Rye's creamed collard greens with bacon dish is perfect proof of this. The leafy green is transformed into a gratifying mix of tangy, creamy goodness. It also comes with a subtly sweet, warm twist at the end that makes the dish utterly memorable. Surprisingly, all it takes is a pinch of nutmeg.

Collard greens are typically simmered with milk, heavy cream, seasonings, all-purpose flour, broth, and perhaps some herbs. Some also like to include additional meat or veggies for a richer, more diverse taste. As you simmer and stir the ingredients together, all the flavor notes intertwine beautifully with one another. With nutmeg in the mix, the dish takes on a soothing warmth and subtle sweetness that perfectly balances out the bitter edges. This delightful synergy gives you a bit of everything in each bite, starting with the veggie's deep earthy tones and the sauce's creamy taste, then finished off by a faint, lingering sweetness and a hearty scent lurking underneath.

A little goes a long way

When working with nutmeg, moderation is key since its intense taste can get overpowering very easily. A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg is usually enough for a large skillet that serves around eight people. Ground nutmeg is also fantastic as a quick and convenient shortcut. Although it may not be as pronounced as fresh nutmeg, you'll still get most of the same flavor notes. Once you've got the nutmeg, just add it as you would any other seasoning — either as you're making the sauce, nearly toward the end, or even both.

Nutmeg alone is often enough to shake things up, but feel free to use it in conjunction with other condiments. If you're in the mood for something warm and perhaps even a bit spicy, play around with paprika, cayenne pepper, or other intense spices that you have in the pantry. For a fragrant undertone that gives the dish a subtle complexity, just sprinkle in a little bit of thyme, rosemary, sage, or cumin. Don't skimp out on the typical aromatics like onion, garlic, and shallots either. You'll have complex layers of fragrances that enhance the collard green's natural taste even further.