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Tree Collard Salad with Balsamic Vinagrette
Adapted from the recipe by Mia Sasaki, Common Ground blog, September 14, 2015

Tree Collard leaves being sliced

Chiffonade the collard leaves for a fine-textured salad.
PHOTO CREDIT: Common Ground Garden staff

Tree collards are great steamed or sautéed with a little butter or olive oil. They can be used raw in salads or lightly blanched in simmering, salted water and used as a sandwich wrap.

Tree Collard Salad
Approximately four servings

½ c caramelized onions (start with about 1 cup raw onions, sliced)
About 20 tree collard leaves, or kale, if you don't have tree collards
¼ c raisins
1 pear or apple
Balsamic vinaigrette—recipe below

To caramelize onion slices, over medium heat, sauté thinly sliced onion in about a tablespoon of olive oil for approximately 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add about a tablespoon of honey.

Massage the collard leaves with your fingers. This helps them to become tender and taste sweeter. To remove the leaf from the stem, hold the leaf upside down by the stem. With the other hand, grasp the leaf at the base and zip down toward the tip, removing the leaf from the stem in one motion. Chiffonade the leaves. If you don't know how to chiffonade, check out this video.

Slice the pear or apple into small, bite-sized pieces. Mix the salad ingredients together, omitting the balsamic vinaigrette. .

Remember, vinegar is actually a handy, natural herbicide. This means it will wilt your greens, so add it to your salad just before serving!

To add pizazz to this salad, you can mix in sunflower seeds, toasted nuts, chopped basil, crisp chopped bacon or vegetarian bacon bits… the list of possibilities is endless. The balsamic vinaigrette is also versatile, but its unusual flavor comes from adding a scoop of your favorite homemade jam and some smoked paprika.

Balsamic Vinaigrette:
Makes about 1 cup of dressing

1 garlic clove
¾ c olive oil
¼ c balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp fruit jam
Dash of smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste .

Place all ingredients in your blender and blend for thirty seconds. This dressing keeps for a little over a week stored in the refrigerator.

Try different variations. Sometimes it's fun to add basil or other herbs; sometimes it warrants some chili. It's all the more interesting if you infuse your balsamic vinegar with flavors, just by adding an unusual ingredient to your balsamic bottle. Ever wonder how to get raspberry vinegar? Just soak some berries in vinegar for a week or more.

Related topics in this issue:
Garden Tip: Care and Feeding of Tree Collards: learn to grow your own!
Purple Tree Collard Cuttings: Bountiful Gardens has them now. Get 'em while they're fresh!
Ecology Action's Garden Calendar: a rough guide on what to do, and when to do it!

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