Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Braising Greens with Shallots and Crispy Pepperoni

This side dish is so robust that you could serve it as a (mostly) vegetable main course, paired with either a hearty soup or some bread and cheese. The most important step is the draining of the blanched greens. If they're too wet when you add them to the skillet, the dish will come out unpleasantly watery. For the same reason, don't reheat the greens too long or they will begin to weep moisture.

(serves two adults and two children)

1 large bunch braising greens (such as collard greens or kale)
2 tsp honey
1 tsp. sherry vinegar
2 large shallots
2 oz pepperoni slices
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1. Prepare the greens by trimming away the stems and tearing the leaves into bite-sized strips. On a baking sheet, spread two layers of paper towels.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the greens until just tender, about 4-6 minutes. Remove and drain on the paper towels. Set aside.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the honey and sherry vinegar. Set aside.

4. Halve the shallots lengthwise. Peel and cut into thin half-rings. Cut the pepperoni slices into thin strips. (You can stack them and cut several at a time.)

5. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Sauté the shallots, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until well browned, about 5-6 minutes. Remove and set aside.

6. Add the pepperoni to the skillet and sauté, stirring occasionally, until crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Remove and set aside with the shallots.

7. Add the drained kale to the skillet and toss to coat with the rendered fat. When the kale has just reheated, remove the skillet from the heat. Add the reserved shallots, pepperoni, and honey-vinegar mixture. Toss to combine. Serve.

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