What do you do with overwintered collard greens in the spring? Use them up and love them dearly. The collards and kale we planted late summer to last us through the fall are still happy as can be, and we're enjoying their come back. This is why I love gardening so much, you never know what you're going to get, and you learn the natural season for things. Coming into summer, these collards won't last since it's not their season ~ their immune systems weaken and they often get white flies. Spring is one of the best times to use them up (you can also freeze them to use whenever), but this refreshing, slimming salad fits the bill right about now. It also comes with a story....
Years ago, before this house, we lived next to our wonderful neighbor, Mr. Jackson. He was in his late 80's, loved collard greens and daffodils, and told me stories about what the neighborhood was really like in the "olden days". He worked as a bartender for select private parties, and everyone knew and loved him. I'd bring him daffodils when they were in bloom, and I'd share collard greens from the garden and we would talk and enjoy simple moments together. One day, he took me by the arm and said almost in a whisper, "I love my food raw!" He didn't know I was a chef, and he didn't know I loved raw food either...how was this possible? I knew we had a special connection.
Mr. Jackson passed away in his early 90's. I became very close to him and my whole family loved him dearly. Most especially, our young son was also close to him...when he was 7 or 8, he'd sit on Mr. Jackson's couch next to hime, watching TV together....decades between them, and happy as clams. I'll never forget the picture that makes in my mind, and I'm eternally grateful for the kindness and care he showed us.
This is actually his recipe, and I write it here in memory of him, and of that phrase he whispered which melted my heart. He told me he likes to slice the collards very thin (showing me how through hand gestures), and adds in garlic, and olive oil, and tomatoes and just lets them marinade until they're ready. I'm telling you...it's my favorite way to eat collards now. Thank you Mr. Jackson for your good taste in food and for your deep heart.
4 large collard leaves, de-stemmed and made into chiffonnade ribbons like this:
1 tomato, chopped
1 clove garlic, microplaned
drizzle of olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
Combine ingredients in a bowl and allow to marinade at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Enjoy!