We Southerners think we own greens. We even romanticize collards, saying that first frost imparts a sweetness that removes their natural bitterness.
Now I love a pot of long-simmered, pork-scented mustard, turnips, collards or kale as much as anybody.
Yet there's a complexity of flavors and techniques to be found throughout the world of greens.
Brazilians slice kale into chiffonade, saute it with olive oil and garlic, and serve it as an accompaniment to pork-laden feijoada. Italians add greens to hearty full-meal soups and stews.
The French bathe spinach in cream and butter, an elegant treatment that suits collards and kale just as well. Just lately, baked kale leaves have been hailed as a healthy answer to potato chips.
After cooking through a bunch of recipes for this article, I ended up with a big mess of turnips and kale. Using olive oil, bacon, onion, celery, garlic, hot pepper, vinegar and a splash of molasses, I simmered up a basic pot of greens.
I dumped in leftover white beans and chopped new potatoes and topped it off with grilled sausage.