From Teff, Gomen, Mitmita, Senefgebs by Patricia Hayse Haller
Menkir Tamrat makes this Ethiopian dish during the colder months, when the greens are most tender. East Bay readers who want to prepare an authentic rendition can buy the abesha gomen (Ethiopian brassica) from Dale Coke at the Palo Alto Saturday or Menlo Park Sunday farmers’ markets. For additional information, contact menkir(at)yahoo(dot)com
2–3 bunches abesha gomen (Ethiopian brassica) or collard greens
½ cup chopped shallots
¼ cup chopped garlic
¼ cup finely grated ginger
⅓ to ½ cup good vegetable oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 mitmita (Ethopian hot pepper) or a serrano or jalapeño, split in 4 lengthwise
Optional: 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Rinse the greens in cold water. Pull out and discard some of the bigger stems and veins. At this point you can either blanch the greens quickly in boiling water and chop them or just chop them without blanching.
Meanwhile, heat several tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a skillet and sweat the shallots (don’t let them caramelize). Then add the chopped garlic and grated ginger and sauté gently for 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the chopped greens and cover the pot. Stir occasionally to ensure that the shallots and garlic do not caramelize at the bottom of the pan. Add remaining oil. If the mixture begins to look dry as the greens are cooking down, add a small amount of water. Continue to cook covered, stirring occasionally on low heat for about 30 minutes, depending on your taste and the tenderness of the greens.
Add salt and pepper to taste. If adding the hot pepper, do it a couple of minutes before turning off heat. Add the lemon juice and slightly mix the greens before serving.
Note: Carnivores might like to try the rendition of this dish known as Gomen Besiga. Start by braising about 2 pounds of beef or lamb rib meat with the bones until well cooked and then just follow the recipe above, adding everything else to the meat in the pan.