“Creamed” Collard Greens with Peanut Butter and Chile
Greens laced with freshly ground peanut butter and fermented seafood for a funky umami kick is a common one-pot dish in West Africa. Chef Pierre Thiam grinds his own peanut butter from roasted peanuts to make a creamless creamy sauce, but if you don’t make your own, use natural peanut butter, as peanut butters made with added sugar and stabilizers will change the flavor of the dish. Almond, cashew, and other nut butters also add an interesting, albeit untraditional, flavor to greens prepared in this manner.
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- 2 lb. collard or turnip green leaves, roughly chopped (12 cups)
- 1 cup dried shrimp
- 4 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 1⁄2 medium yellow onions (1 roughly chopped, 1/2 sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings)
- 1 vine-ripe tomato, cored, seeded, and roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp. red palm oil or vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1⁄2 cup natural peanut butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan and season with salt. Add the collard greens, cover, and cook until the leaves are tender and wilted, about 5 minutes. Drain the leaves in a colander set over a bowl and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Place the leaves and reserved liquid in a blender, purée until smooth, and scrape the paste into a bowl.
- Clean the blender and return it to its base. In the blender, combine the dried shrimp with three-quarters of the chiles, half the chopped onion, and the fresh tomato and purée until smooth. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons palm oil over medium-high. Add the remaining half of the chopped onion and the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions are soft and lightly caramelized, 6 to 8 minutes. Scrape the shrimp and tomato paste into the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the puréed collard greens and peanut butter, and mash until evenly combined. Season the greens with salt and pepper and scrape into a serving dish.
- In a 10-inch skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons palm oil over high, add the onion rings, and cook, stirring, until soft and slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Arrange the onion rings over the collards and garnish with the remaining chile.