Bright green, smoky and laced with white pepper, these aren’t your customary collard greens. Robert Carter, the executive chef and owner of Carter’s Kitchen in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, detours from low-and-slow cooking by first quickly cooking the collards, then shocking the greens in ice water to keep their verdant color intact. A short pork-stock bath and the addition of white pepper and hot sauce give the side dish depth of flavor and a pleasant kick. It’s an ideal complement for a slew of summer mains.
Peppered Collard Greens
Recipe adapted from Robert Carter, Carter's Kitchen, Mount Pleasant, SC
Yield: Serves 4 as a side dish
Cook Time: 5 minutes
4 strips thick-cut smoked bacon
2 cups chicken broth
Ice and cold water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1½ large bunches collard greens (about 3 pounds)--stems removed and leaves stacked, rolled into a long cylinder and thinly sliced crosswise into ⅛-inch-wide strips
1 small shallot, finely chopped
Rounded ¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons pepper vinegar (from a jar of pickled peppers) or hot sauce (preferably Cholula)
1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the bacon and cook until the fat renders and the bacon is browned, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Remove the bacon and discard; set the stock aside.
2. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set aside. Fill a large pot with water, add the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the collard greens and blanch for 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the greens and transfer to the ice-water bath. Once they’re cool, drain the greens, place in a kitchen towel and wring out as much liquid as possible.
3. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add the reserved stock. Add the shallot and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the collards and cook until they are just heated through, about 2 minutes. Add the white pepper and pepper vinegar and toss to coat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl and serve.