First at Four recipe: Adventures in collard greens

The best recipe for collards, IMO - Ashlea Kosikowski

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - My first fall in Wilmington, right around Thanksgiving, I spotted a farmer on the corner of Military Cutoff Road and Sir Tyler Drive selling an item I'd never seen before.

I rolled down my window and asked, "What are those?"

He shouted back something that sounded inaudible to me.

I asked again.

Upon the second or third try, I made it out. He shouted, "Collards!"

Then, he added, "Y'all ain't from these parts."


Each time I hear about the leafy green vegetable, I think back to that interaction. The collards man must have thought I was such a Yankee.

As an Ohioan, I did not grow up with collard greens. I'll admit, I have yet to acquire a taste for them.

That's why I was looking forward to today's cooking segment on WECT News First at Four.

If Chef Matt Register from Southern Smoke BBQ couldn't convince me to eat collards, which are packed with nutrients ("The new kale!" they say.), no one will.

UPDATE after the show: I'm sold. This is the only way to make collards. I've been making them wrong. Chef Register knows what's up! 

For you collard lovers out there, here's his recipe:

Utica Collards
  • 3 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 6 ounces of diced country ham
  • 3 cups of cooked collards
  • 1/4 cup of collard stock
  • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Heat the bacon grease in a skillet. Once it has covered the bottom of the pan add the garlic and ham. Stir until garlic becomes fragrant about 3 minutes then add the collards and stock. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until collards are heated thoroughly, stir in Parmesan cheese and sea salt. Serve hot.

Chef Register will join other fabulous chefs from around the region at the Wilmington Wine & Food Festival from May 17 to May 20 at various venues across the Port City.

The sixth annual event features special guest chef dinners, bartender challenges, wine and food samplings and cocktail parties.

For all the details, click here.

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