Thursday, August 14, 2008
Food has always been about memories for me, tastes and smells conjuring associations with people and places. I'll never forget my grandmother's rhubarb sauce, tart and sweet all at once, the stalks cooked down into a pink puree she served in a milky-green glass bowl. And making tuna casserole always reminds me of Friday nights growing up when my mother would make a big batch of it and stand back while my brothers and I dove in, arguing over the crusty brown bits around the edges.
The following is from local salt maven Jim Dixon of Real Good Food, whose stepson Daniel passed away recently from cancer. You can read about this young man's remarkable life here.
Dan loved to eat, and he especially loved soul food. I cooked a lot of greens for him, not the traditional collards with pork, but the Tuscan soul food called cavalo nero (black cabbage, aka Lacinato kale).
Wash a bunch of cavalo nero, but leave some water clinging to the leaves. Cut in chiffonade by rolling a few leaves into a tight bundle, then slicing thinly across the stem. I find this eliminates the need to cut out the stem, but go ahead if you feel so inclined.
Coarsely chop an onion and sauté in a healthy splash of good olive oil for a few minutes. Be sure to toss in a generous pinch of salt, too. Add the greens, cover, and simmer for at least 25 minutes, adding more water if necessary. The cooked greens should be very tender. Serve on a platter and drizzle a little more oil over it at the table.
Remembrances can be made in Daniel's name to DeLiver a Cure, an organization researching cures for fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma.