All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Monday, December 8, 2008

southern breakfast: silky collards and cornmeal cakes

I made a real Southern style lunch yesterday - with silky collards, cornmeal mush cakes - and even pralines - and ate it happily as I watched the snowflakes fall.
I spent several years in the South, and it remains part of my cooking ( and eating) history.
I never used to cook collards right. I'd rinse them, slice them up, and then briefly parboil them, wondering why they were a little too tough. Then I ate at Redbones BBQ in Cambridge, and tasted their silky collards flecked with hot pepper flakes and fatback and realized my mistake. You have to cook them a long time - about an hour is right, with plenty of fat - I use smoky bacon and salt pork or fatback.
My side was simply cornmeal mush cakes with fresh scallions and rosemary, cut into a disc.
To make:
A bunch of collards, rinsed and trimmed of stems ( I cut off the stems, then tear the collard leaves off the center stem on each leaf)
Up to 2 cups diced salt port and thick, smoky bacon
hot pepper flakes
Place trimmed collards in a large pot.
Add water to just below the top of the collards.
Add the salt pork and bacon. hot pepper flakes, and some salt
Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cook for about an hour, covered, checking often and stirring the collards.
Pick out the diced fatback ( or some of it) place in microwave-safe dish, and cover with a paper towel. Microwave for 2 or 3 minutes and it will brown up.
Scoop the collards into bowls or mugs, add some of the cooking liquid, and top with some of the browned fatback.
Serve with hot sauce.
For cornmeal cakes:
2 cups water
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup chopped scallions and fresh rosemary
salt and pepper
parmesan cheese (optional)
Bring water to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Add salt , pepper, and herbs to boiling water, then slowly whisk in the cornmeal ( and cheese, if using).
Turn down heat and continue to stir until cornmeal is thick.
Pour onto a plate and cool.
When cool, cut cornmeal into discs and briefly reheat in microwave.
You can also skip the herbs and make plain cornmeal mush and serve the cakes with syrup - kids love it!


Ana said...

Hi Tanta Katrina,

I just got some collards from my CSA share--your recipe is just in time again. Tom is home with me today as he had six teeth pulled yesterday. We are going to try your parsley dumplings. I'll let you know how they turn out!

katrina said...

oh ouch, Ana! Poor little guy - and I do hope he's able to enjoy the dumplings, which are very soft. All the CSA's here are done, so I envy you your December box.........Should be over soon, Vermont is calling my name :)

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