Todd Richards shows off his collard green tattoo.
Todd Richards shows off his collard green tattoo.

We launched a new "On Second Thought" series on Tuesday called “Main Ingredient” in which a chef tells us about his or her essential Southern ingredient. Host Virginia Prescott heads into the kitchen with Atlanta-based chef and cookbook author, Todd Richards. He shares with us his love for collard greens.

"Bacon, Collard and Fried Egg Sandwich" by Todd Richards

Poached, soft-scrambled, or fried—egg dishes are an essential part of a chef’s repertoire. Cooking eggs correctly requires organizational skill, finesse and passion; otherwise, the result can be dry, cold, and flavorless. Assemble 80 percent of the dish before adding the egg so it cooks properly and can be served immediately.

Serves 1

1⁄4 cup Pickled Collard Green Stems (page 21)

1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 jalapeño chile, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon pickling liquid from

Pickled Collard Green Stems 

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 bacon slices

2 sourdough bread slices

1 duck egg or extra-large chicken egg

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup cooked collard greens,

roughly chopped

2 cups potlikker from

cooked collard greens

1⁄4 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons hot sauce

1. Stir together the Pickled Collard Green Stems, bell pepper, jalapeño, and pickling liquid in a small bowl. Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

2. Heat 1⁄2 tablespoon of the oil in a medium sauté pan or skillet over medium. Add the bacon; cook 6 minutes. Turn and cook until crisp, about 4 minutes. Drain the bacon on a plate lined with paper towels. Discard the drippings. Add the bread slices to the pan. Toast over medium to desired degree of doneness. Remove from the pan, and wipe the pan clean with paper towels.

3. Heat the remaining 1⁄2 tablespoon oil in the pan. Break the egg into the pan. Cook

4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure the egg does not stick. Season with the salt and black pepper. Turn the egg and cook 2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate.

4. Combine the collards and potlikker in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook until warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain collards, reserving potlikker for another use.

5. Meanwhile, stir together the mayonnaise and hot sauce in a small bowl. Spread mayonnaise mixture onto each slice of toast.

6. Transfer the collards to 1 piece of the sourdough toast using tongs. Top with half of the relish, bacon, and fried egg. Reserve remaining relish for a second sandwich or another use. Top with the remaining piece of toast, spread side down. Secure with skewers or toothpicks, and cut the sandwich in half.

Note: Duck eggs may be found at Whole Foods Market or at Asian markets.

To Drink: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, rosé, Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon, amber beers, IPAs, hard ciders, or Bloody Marys

Serve with: Onion, potato, or tomato dishes, green salads, tomato salads

Excerpted from Soul by Todd Richards. Copyright © 2018 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Meredith Corporation. New York, NY. All rights reserved.


Todd Richards cooks collard greens in his home kitchen in Atlanta.
Todd Richards cooks collard greens in his home kitchen in Atlanta.
Todd Richards' bacon, collard, and fried egg sandwich.
Todd Richards' bacon, collard, and fried egg sandwich.