Tuesday, January 3, 2012

One Great . . . side dish

January is named for the god with two faces, Janus. I'll take that as a cue to take a second look at collards. Last week, I offered an easy version of the traditional Southern good-luck foods - collards, black-eyed peas and ham hocks - cooked into a simple soup.

Collards are still piled on tables at farmer's markets and in supermarkets. That's a good reason to remember that you don't have to cook collards for hours with lots of pork seasoning. They can take a faster, more healthful treatment, too. One of the new cookbooks that landed on my desk over the holiday break is "Everyday Food Light," from the editors of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food magazine. All the recipes have less than 500 calories a serving. I found this in the section on winter side dishes. It's fast, flavorful and affordable - definitely worth making more than once.

Sauteed Collards With Almonds and Raisins

From "Everyday Food Light."

1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 pounds collard greens (about 2 bunches), stalks removed, leaves sliced crosswise
1/2 cup raisins
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden, about 8 minutes, tossing halfway through. Watch carefully to keep them from burning.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat while almonds are toasting. Add collards and raisins. Cook, tossing occasionally, until collards are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from ehat and stir in vinegar. Sprinkle with almonds and serve.

Yield: 4 servings. Per serving: 168 calories, 4.4g protein, 22.7g carbohydrates, 8.1g fat (0.8g saturated), 4.5g fiber.