You will need
- 2 lbs. (32 oz.) collard greens, washed and stems removed
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 smoked ham hock
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 to 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup hot milk
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 4 6-oz. croaker fillets, skinned and de-boned
- 1 small onion, cut in julienne
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Scallions, chopped for garnish
In a heavy Dutch oven, add the collard greens, chicken stock and ham hock. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook the greens until completely wilted and the ham softens, about 30 minutes. Uncover and cook about 10 minutes more until the chicken stock reduces to a glaze. Remove the ham hock and pick off the meat and return it to the pot with the greens.
For the Johnny Cakes, mix the dry ingredients together. Heat the milk and butter together until the butter is melted, and mix into the dry ingredients. Add the egg and mix to combine. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and grease with butter. Pour the batter into the skillet to make two-inch cakes. Cook them until golden brown on both sides. Remove to a warm plate and hold in a warm place.
Caramelize the onion and garlic over a low heat. Spread the caramelized onions over the fish. Then gently roll up the fish starting with the tail end of the filet and wrapping the rest of the filet around it. Season the fish with the salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roast the fish in a 400-degree oven about six or seven minutes until it starts to flake.
Place three Johnny Cakes on the plate and top with the greens. Put the fish on top of the greens and garnish with chopped scallions.
Recipe by New England Aquarium Chef Tim Ridge