Quick Collard Greens
Yield: 4 servings
Slow cooked collards may be traditional, but this speedy method yields tender greens with a hint of crispness around the edges. The mild flavor and natural sweetness of leeks balance the bitter greens for a wholesome match made in heaven.


• 1 large or 2 small leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced*
• 1 bunch (1 – 1¼ lbs) collard greens
• 1½ tablespoons (22ml) extra virgin olive oil
• ½ teaspoon each kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper**
For serving: lemon wedges


  1. 1. To prepare the leeks: Slice off the root end and the tough dark green end. Slice the remaining white and light green part in half lengthwise (rinsing well if there is any lingering dirt), and then thinly slice into half moons.
    2. To prepare the collards: Cut out the thick center rib out of each leaf, and then stack the greens and roll them into a tight “cigar.” Slice the cigar as thinly as possible—aim for ⅛″ to ¼″ slivers. You can then chop a couple of times in the other direction to shorten any really long strands.
    3. Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron or other heavy-bottomed skillet (12-inch diameter works well) over medium-high heat. When hot, add the leeks and sauté until softened and golden in spots, about 3 minutes. Add the collard greens, followed by the salt and pepper.
    4. Stir until the greens are lightly coated in oil and mixed in with the leeks. Then cook, undisturbed, in 30 seconds increments, give or take, before stirring again. Continue cooking this way—spreading into an even layer, letting the mixture sear briefly, and then stirring—until the greens are wilted, dark green, and beginning to brown and crisp on the edges. This will take roughly 4 to 5 minutes.
    5. Remove the pan from the heat, check for seasoning, and serve the greens with a small wedge of lemon for squeezing.


*Leeks supply a delightfully mild onion flavor and their subtle sweetness pairs well with bitter greens. I don’t worry about cup measurements here, feeling that more of the delicate leeks is not a bad thing! If you don’t have them, several shallots (it’s hard to use too many of these either, as they really cook down) or a sweet yellow onion may be used. An onion will require an additional minute or two to cook down and become lightly golden in spots.
**In place of (or in addition to) the black pepper, you could use a pinch or two of cayenne pepper, Aleppo pepper, or red pepper flakes.

Don’t have a lemon? The acidic note of a light, final squeeze of lemon offers a lovely brightness and rounds out the flavor. If you don’t have one, a teaspoon or two of white wine vinegar could be used.

Have a really big bunch of collards? Some bunches of collards weigh closer to two pounds. If you want to use them all, simply increase the oil and seasonings proportionately and use the widest skillet you have.

Have leftovers? Cover and store in the refrigerator where they will keep for up to 5 days. Gently reheat before serving–although I think they taste great cold too!

More recipes at FountainAvenueKitchen.com