1/2 cup heavy cream
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, or to taste
To make the béchamel sauce:
MELT the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk. Add the shallot, bay leaf and peppercorns. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl. Press parchment paper or plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the sauce and set aside.
To make the greens:
CUT the bacon into 1/4-inch slices. Cut the slices into 1/4-inch-wide sticks. (Note: If you can't find slab bacon, use the thickest bacon you can find. End pieces cut into chunks work well.) Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown but not crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain; then pour off the fat from the pot and wipe it clean.
HEAT the butter in the pot over medium-low heat until brown and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, until softened, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and stir in the greens one handful at a time, letting each handful wilt before adding the next. Stir in the béchamel sauce, cream, garlic, pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the greens are tender and coated with sauce, about 10 minutes. Stir in the bacon and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.
Nutrition information: Per serving, based on 6: 487 calories (65 percent from fat), 19 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fiber, 37 grams fat (18 grams saturated), 93 milligrams cholesterol, 822 milligrams sodium.
Cynthia Wong's Brown-Butter Hiking Cake with Apples and Pecans
You could leave off the glaze and still have a very handsome and delicious sweet. Pears may be substituted for the apples. Serves 10-12. Prep time, 40 minutes. Total time 2 hours 40 minutes (includes 1 hour cooling time).
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
12 ounces butter, cubed
1 vanilla bean
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups peeled and thinly sliced apples
1 cup chopped toasted pecans, divided
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
HEAT oven to 350°.
GENEROUSLY spray a tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
SIFT together the flour, baking soda, kosher salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
PLACE the butter in a cast-iron skillet or shallow, heavy-bottomed pot. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds out. Place the seeds and bean in the skillet with the butter. Melt over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and fragrant, about 5-8 minutes. Pour into a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool for 15 minutes at room temperature.
PICK the vanilla bean out of the butter. Whisk in the sugar, followed by the eggs. Using a stiff wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture. The batter will be thick and stiff. Fold in the apples and 1/2 cup of the toasted pecans.
SCRAPE the batter into the tube pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted close to the tube opening of the pan comes out clean.
LET the cake rest in the pan for 30 minutes. Then turn it out onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.
WHISK the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract together until smooth. When the cake is cool, drizzle the cake with the glaze and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup pecans.
Nutrition information: Per serving, based on 10: 623 calories (42 percent from fat), 6 grams protein, 85 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 30 grams fat (18 grams saturated), 138 milligrams cholesterol, 619 milligrams sodium.