Mustard Greens with Salt Pork and Spicy Vinegar

Mustard greens are a Southern staple. At Izola's, they're simmered for a long time with salt pork and sugar—a simple method that yields sumptuous flavor. Dousing the cooked greens with chile-infused vinegar sharpens their flavor. Restaurateur Izola White sometimes adds a dash of coffee to the vinegar to deepen its color and taste.

Mustard Greens with Salt Pork and Spicy Vinegar
This recipe simmers salt pork and sugar with the greens, yielding a sumptuous flavor.
Yield: serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 12 lb. salt pork, halved
  • 4 tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • Salt
  • 4 lb. mustard greens (about 5 bunches), trimmed, thick veins removed, and roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Put vinegar and pepper flakes into a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Screw top on jar and shake well. Let the spicy vinegar sit at room temperature overnight to allow the flavors to meld.
  2. Put salt pork, butter, sugar, salt to taste, and 6 cups water into a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Add mustard greens and stir well. Cook, covered, until completely wilted, tender, and dark green, about 2 hours. Season with salt to taste.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the salt pork to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, cut lengthwise into thin slices. Divide the greens (with some of their juices, otherwise known as "pot likker") between plates and arrange slices of the salt pork around them. Drizzle the greens with a little of the spicy vinegar.