Craig Stoll of Delfina in San Francisco jokes that the non-traditional greens with classic Italian seasonings make this dish "Southern/Italian--as opposed to southern Italian." It's worth it to track down guanciale--rich, sweet Italian-style bacon--and fruity, hot Calabrian chiles.
1 cup (7 oz.) guanciale* or thick-cut bacon cut into 1/2-in. dice
2 pounds collard greens, stems and ribs removed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly smashed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small dried chile such as arbol
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Calabrian chiles* packed in oil and vinegar or pickled piquillo peppers, thinly sliced
How to Make It
Bring guanciale and 3 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan, then cook at a rapid simmer 10 minutes (5 minutes if using bacon) to render some fat. Drain, reserving 2 cups water. Blot guanciale dry.
Boil collard greens gently in a large pot filled three-quarters full of water until tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Drain, rinse with cool water, and drain again. Coarsely chop.
Cook garlic in oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat until sizzling, 2 to 3 minutes. Add guanciale; cook 2 minutes, then transfer garlic to paper towels. Continue cooking guanciale, stirring often with a long-handled spoon (it may spatter), until crisp, 6 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels.
Break arbol chile in half, add to oil in pan, and toast until puffed, 1 minute. Add greens, reserved garlic, and salt and pepper and stir until coated. Add reserved cooking liquid and cook over medium-high heat until most of liquid evaporates but greens are still juicy, 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in guanciale. Spoon greens into a dish and scatter Calabrian chiles on top.
*Find guanciale and Calabrian chiles on amazon.com or from an Italian deli or grocer.