Where our "booth" is at the Waxhaw Farmer's Market, we have a fabulous view of the colorful display of fresh vegetables from Boy & Girl Farm. I've learned to run over and pick up what I want from Joe and Amy early in the morning, because they often sell out. This time of year, collards are king! They are beautiful, big green unblemished leaves, and these young farmers wash them and bundle them already separated, which makes prepping them a snap.
If you've never made collards (I never did, growing up in Pennsylvania), it's so easy, although it does take a bit of custom prep work to get them in the pot. The leaves are thicker than most other greens, and they are BIG. Rinse off each leaf, then fold one in half, top sides of the leaf together. Hold the folded leaf in one hand with the thick rib pointing out and up. Grab that cut end of the rib with the fingers of your free hand and pull downward and away from the leaf until you've removed the thickest part of the rib. Discard that rib and then lay the leaves out flat on top of one another, like this:
Take a few of the stacked leaves and roll them up like a big cigar. Just like this:
With a sharp knife, slice through the roll in about one-inch increments. Like this:
I turn the slices sideways and run my knife back through the slices to cut them in half, producing more manageable bite-size pieces instead of long strips. Then in the Instant Pot they go, with a dusting of salt and a hearty sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Add 2 cups of water and a dash or two of liquid smoke. (The liquid smoke makes these greens taste like they've been long-simmered with smoked pork side meat.)
Set the IP on high pressure for 15 minutes, then, once it's finished cooking, natural release for another 15 minutes and then quick release. Stir, taste for seasoning, and serve. I bought two bundles of collards and that will serve four hungry collard green lovers.
OR, from this point, dress up those collards with a yummy sort of bechamel-sauced, cheesy casserole, and continue with my recipe for Uptown Collard Greens, which you can find HERE.
Hope you've enjoyed this little tutorial on one of our favorite Southern vegetables!