Massaged Collard Greens Salad with Smashed Croutons

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Allow me to please post … my new favorite salad of all time! This is just beyond. It’s a salad to make you forget about the steak on your plate. I could eat a whole bowl for lunch. Yeah, it’s one of those.

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The original recipe called for young, or baby collard greens, and that seemed important as you’re eating them raw in this salad. And collards can be a bit bitter; usually they are cooked to avoid too much of the bitter factor. Except that I couldn’t find anything but regular old adult collards at my grocery store. Do the babies have a particular season? I haven’t yet googled anything on this subject.

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All I know is that I picked up the regular collards with a hint of trepidation, wondering if this would work, and then I walked past the kale and had an “aha!” moment that would make Oprah beam with pride (okay, maybe not): I remembered that massaged kale salads are/were all the rage (are they still? We don’t eat kale here thanks to Matt’s allergy/”allergy”), and I figured that I could just massage collard greens and make them much more palatable in their raw state.

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Maybe you already knew this, but turns out – my hunch was correct! You can totally massage collards the same way as kale, and it turns them delicious and perfectly at home in a salad. I am now officially obsessed with massaged collard greens salads. You simply must try this one, very, very soon. Enjoy!

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{One Year Ago: Ancho Tomatillo Chicken Enchiladas, Duck Fat Chex Mix}
{Two Years Ago: Hatch Chile White Cheddar Scones, Molasses Mustard Pork Chops}

Source: adapted from Man Made Meals by Steven Raichlen

4 (3/4 inch thick) slices of Italian white or semolina bread, cut on the diagonal
1 clove garlic, cut in half lengthwise
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch of collard greens
Juice of 1 lemon
About ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 F.
Lightly brush about 1 ½ tbs olive oil on one side of the bread slices. Rub the garlic clove on the oiled side. Arrange the bread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the slices are golden brown and crisp, 3-5 minutes per side. Remove the baking sheet to a trivet and prop the slices of bread up on the rim and let them cool. Cooling this way prevents steaming.
Rinse the grit off the collards and shake or spin them dry. Use a knife to cut the tough stem out of each leaf. Roll the collards lengthwise into a cigar-shaped tube, then thinly slice them into ¼-inch ribbons. Transfer to a mixing bowl. With clean hands, massage the greens for about 1 minute, tossing as you go and making sure you get all of them.
Use the garlic halves and rub the salad bowl you’ll be serving in with them. Discard. Add the collard greens, separating the ribbons as needed. Add the remaining 2 ½ tbs olive oil and the lemon juice. Don’t toss yet.
Just before serving, chop the bread slices into chunks, and then crumble the chunks over the salad. Add the Parmesan cheese, plus salt and pepper to taste, and then toss everything together. Serve immediately.

7 responses to “Massaged Collard Greens Salad with Smashed Croutons

  1. Julie,
    You’re brilliant. I would never have thought to massage collards but now that you have, I will have to try it myself. Unfortunately collards are not one of the greens I’ve got in the fridge. Fortunately, I’ve got other greens. Unfortunately, I’ve got LOTS of other greens (lettuce, cabbage, bok choy, arugula, and mustard greens were all in the fridge in various quantities for a 36 hour period).
    I’ll keep this in mind. It looks good.

    • Texan New Yorker

      Aww, thanks so much! It’s all got me thinking, that if this works with kale and collards, I can’t imagine it won’t work with other dark greens. I’ll have to try mustard greens or dandelion greens sometime, too.

  2. I massage my collards too! actually, pretty much any green gets the massage while I clean them, ha! this sounds FANTASTIC.

  3. Collards are the best! If you can get a hold of some after they’ve been through a freeze before they’re picked they are much milder too.

  4. This salad looks delightful. I can’t wait to try it!

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Funny enough I have all of this in my fridge – this is what will be my side for dinner tonight! Looks amazing!!

  6. What a deliciously creative idea! I have never tried collard greens for salad and now I know I should!

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