It’s Good to Like Kale

Some delicious ideas and tips for preparing kale...

 

Editor's note:

We may differ in our faiths, parenting philosophies, attitudes to SpongeBob but there is one thing that unites our neighborhood like nothing else. That thing is Kale. Kale is the mother of all greens. We aspire to it but, as evidenced by the many “I-have-all-this-kale-Now-what?” threads on our list, we aren’t always sure what to do with it. SoI asked Ronna Welsh, of Purple Kale Kitchenworks, one of the most talented chef’s in the ‘hood to share some ideas on ways to prepare this queen of all greens.

We’ve always known we should eat our hearty winter greens, but for most of us, anything beyond the silky pads of baby spinach were either unforgiving in the pan or to the digestion. Enter Kale. Of course Kale has been around for a long time but it used to be the thing relegated to decoration on salad bar buffets, and platters of overcooked salmon at cheap hotels. It wasn’t until someone spread the word on how to make kale “chips” that it became the winter green to eat.

 

I like to prepare Kale one of two ways so that it holds well and remains versatile to use in multiple dishes. In the first version, I sear the kale by weighting down the greens as they cook in a hot, oiled pan. They don’t “brown,” exactly, but they turn sort of a mustard color and the taste is phenomenal. In the second, I wilt the kale, keeping the leaves bright and in the process coating them with the warm vinaigrette made in the pan. Both recipes, below.

I find a container full of cooked and dressed Kale useful in the following ways:

--To add to some stock for soup.

--Stuffed in a sandwich with pork.

--Tossed with merguez sausage and onions.

--Mixed with chickpeas and yogurt.

--Added to an omelette.

--Served as a bed to roast chicken.

-- Folded into a cheese strata for brunch.

--Served as a side with pignoli and parmesan.

 

Kale (seared)


Kale

Olive oil

Garlic, slivered or minced

Salt, kosher or coarse sea salt

Wash Kale well in a bowl of cold water. Lift to strain, leaving behind any grit or dirt.

Tear the leaves from its center stem, and then again into more manageable pieces. Blot to dry well with a dish or paper towel.

In a large sauté pan, heat enough olive oil to just coat the bottom of the pan, over med-low heat.

Add garlic and quickly cover and cook until garlic is just translucent, maybe 15 seconds. Do not let the garlic burn.

Turn heat to high and immediately add Kale, in batches—just enough to loosely cover the bottom of the pan--tossing continuously just to coat. Season with salt and weight down leaves with the lid from a heavy, flat pot, a heat-proof plate, or the bottom of a heavy pan (cast iron is good for this). Press down firmly with your whole hand to flatten greens and produce a nice sear. Taste, again, for salt. I like lemon at the end, here, too.

 


Kale (wilted)


Kale

Olive oil or bacon fat

Garlic, slivered

Salt, kosher

Red wine vinegar

Tear Kale leaves off of their stems. Wash leaves well in a bowl of cold water. Lift out of water and place in a colander to drain lightly. Do not shake the colander or spin the leaves dry. The residual water clinging to the leaves will help to steam them in the sauté pan.

In a large sauté pan, heat just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, over med-low heat.

Add slivered garlic. Quickly cover and cook until garlic is just translucent, about 15 seconds.

Turn heat to high and pile in as much Kale as will fit into the pan. Season with salt and smush down leaves to cover, lifting lid occasionally to toss them around. Once wilted, remove from heat and sprinkle lightly with vinegar.

Ronna

Ronna Welsh blogs inspiringly at “2 Minutes to Dinner“™

©Purple Kale Kitchenworks and 2minutestodinner.com

photo credit: Rasbak