Thursday, February 3, 2011

CSA week seven - Collard potato salad with mustard dressing

This is a somewhat unusual preparation for collards; at least I think it is. When you search for collards and mustard, you get a lot of recipes offering mustard greens as a collards alternative. I scanned through a few pages and didn't see any, but maybe all the mustard dressing recipes are just buried beneath. It's the first time I've tried it anyway, so that's something.

I found this recipe on, but it looks like it's originally from Gourmet magazine, February 1992. I made a change that I thought would help the texture, but it didn't really work out.

1 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into equal-sized pieces
1/2 pound collards, stemmed, washed and sliced into 1-inch wide strips
3 slices bacon, cut into lardons
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon coarse Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Cook the bacon in a large pan over low heat until crisp. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Keep the pan warm.

2. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and a generous amount of salt and simmer over medium-low heat until tender. [How long this takes will vary depending on the size of your potatoes so use your judgment and check frequently.] Remove to a large bowl filled with cold water and cool until the potatoes and handleable.

3. Turn the heat under the pan of bacon fat to medium and add potatoes, taking care to shake off the excess water before putting them in the pan. Cook for five minutes on one side then turn to brown a second side.

4. Meanwhile, add collards to the boiling pot of water. [Did I tell you to turn the heat off? I did not.] Simmer for ten minutes until tender.

5. In a small bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar and olive oil [The original recipe called for a lot more olive oil. Way too much to my mind. I reduced it to a drizzle because I added the bacon fat. If you don't fry the potatoes, add more oil to taste.]

6. When the collards are ready, remove them to the big bowl of cold water. [Did I tell you to dump it out? I did not.] If the potatoes are also ready, remove them a large bowl. When the collards have cooled a bit, squeeze the water out a handful at a time and add to the potatoes taking care to peel the leaves apart. Add the bacon and scallion, top with the dressing and toss until everything is coated.

If you managed to keep the potatoes and bacon crisp despite the humidity from the simmering pot of water, then serve immediately. If, like me, you didn't, serve whenever you'd like.

The result isn't bad. I was hoping for a lot more texturally, but everything is tender. I think I managed to leave a little firmness to both the collards and potatoes, but I was hoping for crispness for contrast too. The flavors aren't a bad match, but it's nothing revelatory either. I might try it again adding a mustard-based hot sauce. That should perk things up. Also, I want to try it cold; I suspect the flavors will work better together that way. I'll add a comment tomorrow to let you know.

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