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Collard Greens and White Bean Gratin

I used to belong to one of those mail order cookbook clubs, the ones where each month they send you catalog of noteworthy cookbooks and their pick for the month. I loved getting the catalogs and reading the reviews but part of their policy is that if you don’t send back the postcard saying you don’t want the book of the month they send it you. As those of you who know me have probably guessed it was not a good set up for me, and my cookbook collection grew considerably with books I didn’t really want during the short time I was a member. The last book I ever received having yet again forgotten to mail back my card was Frank Stitt’s Southern Table which has turned out to be one of my very favorite cookbooks. There are many recipes in the book that I love and the recipe below for Collard Greens was adapted from one of them. If you are in the market for a new cookbook (as I pretty much always am) I would highly recommend buying it.

I decided this would be my first post during our trip to visit friends in Texas last week. My friend Andee has set up a wonderful vegetable garden which yielded an abundant crop of Collard greens and she was looking for new ways to cook them. She also had Kale growing with which she made delicious Kale chips – but more on that next time!

Collard Greens and White Bean Gratin

5 garlic cloves (1 crushed to rub on the dish and 4 chopped)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
1 or 2 bunches of Collard greens (you can substitute Kale, Turnip greens or Mustard greens)
3 cups white beans (canned, rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup bacon
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 rosemary sprig, leaves removed and chopped.
Extra Olive oil for drizzling
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup of medium coarse fresh bread crumbs.

Blanch the Collard Greens in boiling salted water until tender (about 10 minutes) and chop. Reserve some of the liquid from the blanching, about a 1/4 cup.

Heat Oven to 450F (230C), rub a 10 to 12 inch gratin dish with one crushed garlic clove, set aside.

In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat, add bacon then add onion, saute till tender then add chopped garlic for a another minute. Add the blanched collard greens for one more minute stirring to coat.

Transfer the greens/garlic/onion mix from the pan into a large bowl and add the beans, half of the parmesan, a tiny splash of olive oil, the rosemary, and salt and pepper (add a little of the reserved liquid from the collards if it seems too dry). Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Spread the mixture in a gratin dish, and top with the bread crumbs, the rest of the parmesan and drizzle a tiny bit more olive oil.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until it’s nice and brown and crunchy on top.

Enjoy! – Melani

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Andee - Was I supposed to cook the bacon beforehand? I cooked the onions in the bacon grease. Yum. Very yum. And the kids ate it!

Mel - I made it the other night and tried it your way, I cooked the bacon first and then fried the onions in with the bacon, it was even better. I’m going to change the recipe to reflect your wonderful suggestion : )

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