Collard Greens Salad with BBC Tahini Sauce
Although I had never encountered leaves as tough and hardy as collard greens until I moved to America, I fell in love with their down-to-earth green flavor. I usually purchase a bunch or two of collard greens every week in season at my local farmers' market or at a nearby store. Because of the toughness of the leaves, many recipes call for cooking them for quite a long time, almost to the point of mushiness. Because the texture of firm greens reminds me of a firm and chewy New York bagel, my cooking time in this recipe is surprisingly short. If you prefer more tender greens, please increase the cooking time as needed. I have noticed that the outer leaves are tougher than the inner leaves, and, similarly, late summer and fall greens are also tougher than early spring greens, and they require 2 minutes or so additional cooking time.
Makes 4 servings
¼ cup BBC Sauce (recipe follows)
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup warm water
½ cup chopped red grapefruit
½ cup chopped dried apricots
1 bunch collard greens (10 ounces), hard bottom part of the stems removed
½ teaspoon shoyu (soy sauce)
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
Whisk the BBC Sauce, tahini, and warm water in a bowl until well blended. Add the grapefruit and apricot pieces and mix well. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the outer leaves of the collard greens to the boiling water. Grasp the remaining inner leaves in your hand or with tongs, and hold the stems only in the water for 1 minute, then submerge the leaves in the boiling water. Cook the leaves for an additional 4 minutes (if you prefer the leaves very tender, cook them for as long as 15 minutes). Drain the greens in a colander, and rinse them under cold water to cool. Pick them up by the stems, collect them in a bunch, and squeeze firmly to remove excess water.
Transfer the greens to a cutting board. Cut the leaves in half down the center of the stems. Cut the leaves again, lengthwise, into 2-inch-wide strips. Pile the strips, and cut the whole bunch crosswise into ½-inch-wide strips. Transfer the greens to a bowl and sprinkle themwith the soy sauce. Massage and distribute the soy sauce into the collard greens. Again, squeeze the collard greens firmly to remove excess water. Divide the greens into small serving bowls and spoon the BBC Tahini Sauce over each portion. Garnish with the sesame seeds and serve.
Makes 2 cups
1 cup mirin (sweet cooking wine)
½ cup sake (rice wine)
½ cup shoyu (soy sauce)
¼ cup sugar
2 akatogarashi (Japanese dried red chile peppers) or 1½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
Place the mirin and sake in a small pot over medium heat, and bring it to a simmer. Add the soy sauce, sugar, and scallions and cook the sauce for 8 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool. Discard the scallions and add the chile peppers. Refrigerate the sauce in a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. There is no need to freeze this sauce; it will keep for 6 months in the refrigerator.
From Hiroko's American Kitchen, Cooking with Japanese Flavors by Hiroko Shimbo. Copyright 2012 by Hiroko Shimbo. Excerpted with permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing.