Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time
30 Mins
Total Time
30 Mins
Yield
Serves 6

If collard greens typically grace your Thanksgiving table in the form of a boiled, pulpy glob of greens, this recipe will be a breath of fresh air.

When it comes to holiday traditions, change can feel frightening and, at times, even blasphemous—and for good reason. After all, is it really Thanksgiving without Grandma’s sweet potato casserole? Tradition is one of the elements of the holiday season that we hold dear, and most of these sacred traditions tend to revolve around food. One whiff of that cornbread dressing is sure to flood our hearts with nostalgia and memories of Grandma’s kitchen. But as much as we cherish holiday traditions, there is one tradition that we’re ready to change: mistreating our collard greens.

In the past, we’ve done collard greens a serious disservice, boiling them to a near paste and leaning on chunks of ham hocks to add real flavor. It’s time for collard greens to get a much-needed makeover that allows their true inner beauty to shine. Welcome change to your family’s holiday routine with this modern collards recipe. All it takes is a whole lot of garlic, torn sippets of sourdough bread, and a quick boil to bring new life to the classic Southern vegetable. A splash of red wine vinegar adds acid to the leafy greens, which are drizzled with warm garlic-infused olive oil to make a lean, fresh side dish.

Trust us—once your family tastes this simple vegetable side, nobody will miss Grandma’s stewed collards.

How to Make It

Step 1

Place 3 quarts water in a large stockpot; bring to a rolling boil over high, and add 1 tablespoon of the salt. Add collard greens. Cook, stirring occasionally, until greens are tender but still have a fresh green color, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain; return greens to stockpot.

Step 2

While greens cook, heat oil in a medium-size heavy skillet over medium. Add 1 garlic slice to oil. Once it sizzles, add remaining garlic slices. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is lightly and evenly browned and aromatic, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer garlic to a plate using a slotted spoon, and set aside; reserve garlic-infused oil in skillet.

Step 3

Heat garlic-infused oil over medium-high. Add 1 bread piece to oil; once bread sizzles, add remaining bread in a single layer. (If needed, work in batches to avoid overcrowding the skillet.) Cook, undisturbed, until golden and crisp on 1 side, about 2 minutes. Turn bread pieces. Cook, undisturbed, until just golden brown on other side, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bread to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat process with remaining bread.

Step 4

To serve, pour warm garlic-infused oil over greens in stockpot; toss to coat. Add vinegar, pepper, half of the reserved garlic slices (reserve the remaining slices for another use), bread pieces, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; toss gently. Transfer to a serving platter; serve warm.