My initial title for this piece was going to be Infernal greens because there was no way something so bitter smelling could turn out so sweet.
I have spent a lifetime avoiding greens. Sometimes my mom would make them, but I can’t remember eating them. It was one of the rare foods that I wasn’t coerced into eating. I think the other one was sauerkraut.
Two years ago I ate dinner at Emeril’s in New Orleans. Believe me, it wasn’t on my dime. I don’t think I can ever afford that.
Our host ordered a couple of appetizers. I remember the sausage presented neatly on a small bed of turnip greens. I decided I would try a bite and was impressed at how delicious they were! They actually had a texture of chewing tobacco without the full-bodied Redman flavor.
I haven’t eaten greens since.
My wife brought home some mustard greens yesterday, so in the spirit of frugality, I decided I would cook them. It took an hour to clean the greens and they smelled horrible. What is the deal with cruciferous vegetables and their stink? I’m told most people eat with their eyes. Not me. I eat with my nose. If my nose gives it thumbs down, it’s not edible.
Once I had everything cleaned and chopped, I began my greens experiment. I had read numerous recipes, but the two that were the most helpful belonged to Emeril’s (I’d like to get a repeat performance of the last ones I ate) and Miz Chef. I’m writing down my recipe so I can share it if it tastes good and to rail against it if it’s like eating a pot of rat poison.
2-3 pounds mustard greens
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices salt pork, chopped
2 ounces Tasso, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
2 teaspoons molasses
Wash and chop stems out of the greens. Add meat and olive oil to cook and to render fat.
Add onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Add cayenne, black pepper, vinegar and molasses. Mix well to combine.
Begin adding greens. As they wilt, add more until all are in the pot.
Add water until greens are just covered. Partially cover pot with lid and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.
Add salt to taste.
Next time I’m going to cook up a bigger batch to render more broth, or potlikker. It’s better than the greens and they rock.