Collard greens are a nutrient powerhouse!
Remove center stem and cut into 1/2 inch strips.
Pimentón is a Spanish smoked paprika.
What is Pimentón?
Last week while visiting my daughter, she made collard greens with a spice that was new to me. Although I'm no stranger to paprika, I had never cooked with pimentón, a Spanish, "smoked" paprika. Its spicy, smoky flavor went very well with the slowly simmered collards. When I returned home, I ran out and bought this spice and cooked the collards dish once again. I quickly realized that pimentón comes in different levels of "heat" and the one I purchased wasn't very spicy at all. Although both kinds were quite good, the one you buy will definitely affect how much you use in this recipe. The pimentón "picante" is very spicy and would need 1/4 to 1/2 of a teaspoon for a large bunch or two small bunches of collards. If you use "agridulce" or medium hot pimentón, you would use a little more. For the sweet "dulce" version of pimentón, an entire teaspoon of the spice can be used. Just experiment to find the intensity and the flavor that pleases you. I look forward to experimenting further with this delicious spice.
Give Collards a Try!
Collards weren't popular in my mother's household. We ate lots of chard but never any collards. Probably because of her busy schedule (she worked all day at her job and then came home, fed us dinner and worked in my father's store until closing time). Chard takes minutes to braise and collards take much longer to tenderize. But it's worth the wait. Collard greens are a nutrient powerhouse, much like kale. They are a very good source of vitamin A, C, K, B6, riboflavin, folate, calcium, iron, and manganese. One cup of cooked collards is only 49 calories and provides 5 grams of fiber. They also provide protein, vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and omega 3 fatty acids. Truly one of the most nutrient dense foods around!
Collard Greens with Pimenton on Whipped Sweet Potatoes
For the Collards:
2 bunches organic collard greens
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon "picante" or 1 teaspoon "dulce" pimentón (to taste)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the whipped sweet potatoes:
6 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
Soak the collards in a large bowl of water, rinsing them several times to remove any sand. Drain and remove the center stem. Slice into 1/2 inch strips. Set aside.
Heat olive oil and sauté onion for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Mix in the pimentón. Add the sliced collard greens, vinegar, water and salt and mix well. Cover and slowly simmer until soft, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust the seasonings adding more pimentón or salt, as needed.
Steam sweet potatoes until soft, about 20 to 30 minutes. Place in a mixing bowl with orange juice, maple syrup and salt and whip them with a hand beater until smooth.
Serve the collards over the whipped sweet potatoes.