You don’t need to be from the South to be familiar with collard greens, fried okra, or grits. But a deeper cut, if you will, of Southern cuisine is potlikker, a soup made from the brothy liquid left in the pot after cooking a batch of greens. Chefs in the South like Steven McIntyre know that that’s where all the good stuff is, since much of the beneficial nutrients cook out of the greens.
McIntrye has a varied culinary background, having worked in restaurants as a line cook before becoming the lead instructor at kitchenware retailer Sur La Table, where he taught classes on subjects including pasta making, knife skills, and one dedicated to sushi. Today he teaches courses to public housing residents in Birmingham, Alabama on everything from food safety and cooking skills to napkin folding and hospitality management.
As part of our Eater at Home series, McIntyre is making a potlikker that’s the star of his “summer crop” recipe, which highlights beautiful produce like collard green stems, okra, and corn. Check out the recipe below which includes black-eyed pea fritters, and try it for yourself.
Vegan “Summer Crop”
For the potlikker:
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bunch collard greens, washed, de-stemmed, and cut (keep stems)
1 cup white onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced into large pieces
1 rib of celery, quartered
3 bay leaves
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
For the black eyed pea fritters:
1 cup cooked black-eyed peas
2 tablespoon green onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon flax seed
For the summer crop:
4 okra, cut in 1⁄2 inch pieces
1 ear of corn
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Roma tomato, cut in 1⁄4 inch slices
Micro mustard greens
Salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Prepare the potlikker. In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable broth to a rolling boil. Add all vegetables except for the collard greens as well as the spices into the pot and allow to boil for 5 minutes. Add in collard greens and cook for 20 additional minutes. Set aside.
Step 2: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a pan lined with aluminum oil, arrange corn and okra and drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. Once cool, shuck the corn; set aside,
Step 3: While the corn and okra are roasting, mash the cooked black-eyed peas in a bowl. Add green onion, garlic, and flax seeds and mix to combine. Using a teaspoon, form balls in your hand; set aside. In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of pan. When oil is ready, press on black-eyed peas ball to create flat disks. Add to pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. Once cooked, place on a plate lined with a paper towel. Finish with salt.
Step 4: To assemble, slice one Roma tomato into 1⁄4 inch slices and arrange in serving bowl. Pour potlikker on top, then arrange pieces of roasted corn in the broth. Sprinkle roasted okra around bowl and place black-eyed pea fritters on the edge of bowl, so they are touching the liquid but no immersed. Garnish with micro mustard greens and reserved stems from collard greens. Finish with an olive oil drizzle.