Carolina Collards with a Smoky Secret

Whereas I really like braising liquid, generally referred to as “potlikka,” created from my greens and a chunk of smoked turkey or pork, I’ve discovered that utilizing smoked fish provides a a lot deeper taste than the meat. I imagine I first noticed the usage of smoked fish with greens from Gullah chef BJ Dennis years in the past, and I’ve been on a quest since then to study extra in regards to the methods to make use of smoked fish and dried seafood with greens.

The place Chef BJ and I are from, utilizing seafood as a taste agent (preserved or not) is pretty widespread, due to our connections to West African foodways and cultures from enslavement within the Carolinas. Seafood can also be comparatively plentiful alongside the coast, so it was straightforward to entry and cook dinner. However the warmth and humidity made it troublesome to maintain that recent seafood recent for lengthy, so the custom of preserving a few of it solely made sense.

I’ve come to seek out many, many great conventional West African dishes spanning the international locations that use seafood so as to add each protein and umami to dishes. Right here, I exploit onion and tomato, generally discovered with braised greens, and I add in crayfish powder or dried shrimp (yow will discover this at your native African or Caribbean market or online) and smoked herring to lend umami to the dish. Add warmth and a splash of vinegar to spherical all of it out. This isn’t a brand new option to put together greens for folks all over the world, however hopefully it turns into a staple in your kitchen.

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