In this article, I will instruct you on how to cook mustard greens in Southern style. With just a few easy steps, you can bring a taste of the South to your dinner table and impress your guests with this nutritious and flavorful dish.
1. Tips To Sauté Mustard Greens Perfectly
Select Young and Tender Greens: Choose young mustard greens with smaller leaves, as they tend to have a milder flavor compared to older, larger leaves.
Remove Tough Stems: Trim off and discard the tough stems from the mustard greens, as they can contribute to the bitter taste.
Blanch the Greens (Optional): If you want to further mellow the pungent flavor, blanch the mustard greens in boiling water for about 1-2 minutes. Then, transfer them to an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Blanching can help soften the flavor and reduce bitterness.
Add Garlic or Ginger (Optional): For additional flavor, add minced garlic or grated ginger to the sauté. These ingredients can complement and balance the pungent taste of the mustard greens.
Cook Briefly: Sauté the greens for only a few minutes until they are just tender. Overcooking can intensify the bitterness, so keep the cooking time short.
Finish with Acid: To brighten the dish and balance bitterness of mustard greens, drizzle some lemon juice or vinegar over the sautéed greens just before serving. The acidity will add a refreshing touch.
2. How To Cook Mustard Greens Southern style
- 1 bunch of fresh mustard greens
- 4-6 slices of bacon, chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional, for additional flavor)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Red pepper flakes (optional, for added heat)
Prepare the Mustard Greens
Wash the mustard greens thoroughly under cold running water to remove any dirt or grit. Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel.
Trim off the tough stems from the mustard greens and discard them.
Blanch the Mustard Greens
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the washed and trimmed mustard greens to the boiling water and blanch them for about 2 minutes. Blanching will help reduce bitterness and soften the greens.
After blanching, quickly transfer the mustard greens to a bowl of ice-cold water to stop the cooking process and preserve their bright green color. Once cooled, drain the greens and squeeze out any excess water.
Cook the Bacon
In a large skillet or sauté pan, cook the chopped bacon over medium heat until it becomes crispy and releases its fat. Remove the cooked bacon from the pan and set it aside, leaving the bacon fat in the pan.
Sauté Mustard Greens
In the same pan with the bacon fat, add the minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until it becomes fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
Next, add the blanched and drained mustard greens to the pan with the sautéed garlic and bacon fat.
Toss the greens in the bacon fat and garlic to coat them evenly. If desired, drizzle olive oil over the greens for additional flavor. Then season the greens with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) to taste.
Sauté the mustard greens for about 5-7 minutes, or until they are tender and wilted.
Add Crispy Bacon and Serve
Stir in the cooked bacon pieces with the sautéed mustard greens. Serve the sautéed mustard greens with bacon hot as a flavorful and satisfying side dish.
Cooked mustard greens have a slightly bitter and pungent flavor, with a hint of pepperiness and a subtle sweetness.
3. What To Serve With Sauteed Mustard Greens
Fried Chicken: A classic Southern combination, serve sauteed mustard greens with crispy and juicy fried chicken for a comforting and satisfying meal.
Cornbread: The combination of sauteed mustard greens with homemade cornbread is a match made in Southern food heaven. The sweet and savory flavors complement each other perfectly.
Black-Eyed Peas: Sauteed mustard greens are a fantastic accompaniment to a bowl of seasoned black-eyed peas. Together, they create a nutritious and flavorful meal.
Smoked Pork: Serve sauteed mustard greens with smoked pork, such as smoked ham hocks, smoked sausage, or pulled pork. The smoky and savory flavors will pair wonderfully with the greens.
Macaroni and Cheese: Add some comfort to your meal by serving sauteed mustard greens with creamy and cheesy macaroni and cheese.
Biscuits: Fluffy Southern biscuits are a delightful addition to sauteed mustard greens, making for a comforting and hearty combination.
Baked or BBQ Meats: Pair sauteed mustard greens with baked or BBQ meats like baked chicken, ribs, or brisket for a delicious and well-rounded meal.
Southern Grits: Creamy Southern-style grits are another great option to serve with sauteed mustard greens, creating a comforting and tasty meal.
Southern Potatoes: Whether it’s mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, or Southern-style potato salad, they all make excellent companions to sauteed mustard greens.
Shrimp and Grits: For a delicious Southern-inspired fusion, pair sauteed mustard greens with shrimp and grits. The combination of flavors and textures is simply delightful.
Fried Catfish: Serve sauteed mustard greens alongside crispy fried catfish for a traditional Southern meal with a delicious twist.
If you’re looking for a flavorful and healthy side dish to complement your next meal, consider sautéed mustard greens. While they can be enjoyed raw in salads, sautéing them with a few simple ingredients can transform their flavor and texture into a delicious side dish.