Sunday, July 25, 2010

Grits and Greens

Happy News!! I'm actually having some success with this planting/harvesting/cooking experiment. It was in doubt there for a while. The bugs were enjoying themselves just a little too much by eating my collards down to the veins. Despite the little bastids my greens have finally reached a size that allowed me to try out a recipe I've been itching to make since I first flipped through Virginia Willis's Bon Appetit Y'all.

collards 3

A grits and greens recipe that will satisfy my Southern culinary yearnings which have been stronger than usual due to the fact that I'm reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Syd over at Adrenaline's Shadow recommended it. The book is chock full of dish and food descriptions so Grits and Greens should help my taste buds to simmer down.

collards 2

Actually this is two recipes. The Tangle of Bitter Greens could easily stand alone as a dish. But add these two recipes together and you will get a beautiful thing.

Grits with Corn and Greens Recipe


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, grated
  • 1 cup whole corn kernels, either frozen or freshly cut from the cob
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup stone-ground or coarse-ground grits
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 recipe of Tangle of Bitter Greens


1 Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the grated onion and cook, stirring, until transparent, about 2 minutes. Add the corn kernels and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kernels become soft, about 5 minutes.

2 Add the milk, water, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Whisk in the grits, decrease the heat to low, and simmer, whisking occasionally, until the grits are creamy and thick, 45 to 60 minutes. Stir in the butter, Parmesan, and Greens. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

collards 4

Tangle of Winter Greens

The best way to clean greens is to fill a clean sink with cold water, add the greens, and swish them around. The dirt will fall to the bottom of the sink. Lift the greens out, drain the sink, and repeat until the water is clear and the greens are free of dirt and grit.

2 tablespoons canola oil
3 medium cloves garlic, mashed into a paste (see below)
1 medium bunch kale, collards, turnip greens, or mustard greens (about 1 1/2 pounds), cleaned, tough stems removed and discarded,
and leaves very thinly sliced in chiffonade
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper 

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and slightly damp ribbons of greens; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the greens are bright green and slightly wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Garlic Paste
To prepare garlic paste, place the broad side of an unpeeled clove of garlic on a clean work surface and give it a whack with the flat side of a chef’s knife. Remove the papery skin and trim away the tough basal plane at the top of the clove. Halve the garlic lengthwise and remove any of the green shoot, if present, as it is bitter. Coarsely chop the garlic, then sprinkle it with coarse salt. (The salt acts as an abrasive and helps chop the garlic.) Then, using the flat side of a chef’s knife like an artist’s palette knife, press firmly on the garlic, crushing a little at a time. Repeat until the garlic is a fine paste.

grits and greens

This is a surprisingly hearty dish with a lot of texture and flavor. I've never grated onions as a prep for a dish and was surprised just how little onion flesh is left after grating. My collards were not too bitter and not cooked to death. A little bite in your greens never hurt any one. This dish would make a great accompaniment to some braised short ribs. Or do like I've been doing for breakfast, slap an egg on top with a side of bacon and you're good to go, Y'all.


intuitive eggplant said...

Recipe and photos are marvelous, as always. But Shamy, you're reading The Help? You've got to read that book all the way through, especially before coming to any culinary conclusions, say, about pies and cakes. (I don't recall any subversive vegetables.)

The Help is one of the most remarkable and compelling books I've read in I don't know how long. When I hadn't finished it in time for my book club, I didn't attend, because I didn't want anyone to give away the twists and turns I knew were waiting for me as they were written on the page.

Happy reading. Happy gardening. Happy eating.


Making Space said...

Gorgeous green, amazing chiffonade technique, and WOWTHATDISH. I can almost taste it from here. I went back and read the recipes in detail (I never do this, oops) because it looked so fantastic. Boy howdy, I ain't eaten no grits in somethin' lahk twenny-fahv years. Y'all.

You're outdoin' yerself. Shucks, just plum outdoin' yerself.

Anonymous said...

serious yum. have any extra greens?

Dani said...

Gonna have to try this one in the fall when I got some good greens growin'.

Grumpy Granny said...

OMG, that looks to die for! Our greens, normally the first things we have, aren't so great this year, due to late start and hot weather. We have an industrial strength garlic spray that literally incinerates bugs off plants and doesn't make things taste like garlic. Maybe that would help your collards. I also have a grits and green chile recipe that melds southern and southwestern really well. I'll have to post it soon!

Thanks for sharing this!


Syd said...

YUM! I would definitely eat that.

That book made me hungry too.

I don't think we can grow greens in the summer. It's a spring/fall crop here. And now I'm craving some.

BTW, the theory that you can wash a bunch of greens in a washing machine is bullshit.

Big Shamu said...

Eggy I am reading The Help and I have reached the Terrible Awful Thing and always enjoy when someone has two slices.

MS, my garden inspires me. It's a yummy dish.

Anony, if I can keep the bugs from eating them, yes.

Dani I think you will like it, it's a great veggie dish.

GG, send that recipe on, I love grits. Dani sent me a recommendation for a spray to help with my collard lovin' bugs.

Syd, I had to hit my asthma inhaler after your story of your little experiment. Perhaps the dishwasher on a cold gentle cycle? When K's not home?

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

A nice post:-)
Love the pics of the greens as muc as the deliciousness in the plate!