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Jun 19, 2007 11:53 AM

Dragon Kale? What to do?

On a whim, decided to buy kale (i think dragon is what they called it) I've never made kale, have no idea how to cook it or what recipes to use it in. Any suggestions are welcome!

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  1. Perhaps you bought dinosaur kale or cavalo nero or black kale? If so, here are some recipes:

    Kale and Lentils

    Kale Soup with White Beans
    Tara Duggan

    6 cups water
    4 garlic cloves
    2 carrots
    1/2 leek
    5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1 large bunch dino kale (see Note
    )2 1/2 cups jarred or canned white beans (about 20 ounces) rinsed and drained
    2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    1 sprig fresh rosemary
    Good-quality prepared croutons
    About 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

    Start bringing the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Mince the garlic, peel and dice the carrots and carefully wash and thinly slice the leek. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a Dutch oven. Add the garlic, carrots and leek and saute for 5 minutes.

    Meanwhile, trim off about 1/2 inch of stems from the kale, then slice the leaves into 1/2-inch-thick ribbons.

    When the vegetables have sauteed 5 minutes, add the kale and quickly stir until it is coated with oil. Add the boiling water, beans, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Simmer the soup for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

    While the soup simmers, place the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan with the rosemary sprig and heat gently until the soup is ready and the oil is fragrant. Discard the rosemary sprig (or break it into pieces and use it as a garnish).

    Serve the soup in bowls, top with the croutons and cheese, and drizzle with infused oil to taste.

    Serves 4 to 6

    Notes: Dino kale, supposedly called "dinosaur" because its long, narrow leaves look like reptilian skin, is an antique kale variety known as Tuscan, Black kale or Cavallo Nero.


    Braised Tuscan Kale

    4 bunches Tuscan kale, stems removed,
    see * Note
    Salt, as needed
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
    1/2 rosemary sprig
    1 dried small red chile
    2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    1/4 cup chicken stock or water

    * Note: Look for Tuscan kale at farmers markets and specialty markets such as Wild Oats. It's also called cavolo nero, black, lacinato or dinosaur kale.

    Coarsely chop the kale leaves and blanch them in boiling salted water, about 3 minutes, then drain.

    Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and add the onion, rosemary and chile. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. When the onion is translucent and starting to color, 3 to 5 minutes, add the kale. Cook the kale over medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring often. The kale will turn a deep, almost black color, become soft and then almost a little crisp. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt. If the greens get too dry during the cooking, stir in a little stock or water. Spoon into a serving bowl and serve.

    This recipe yields 4 to 6 servings.


    Braised Tuscan Kale with Pancetta and Caramelized Onions

    2 Replies
    1. re: Nancy Berry

      you might also try any recipe that combines spinach and cheese, like lasagne or spanikopita, and use the Tuscan Kale instead. Stir fry it doown (edit--that's not a typo,it's my English heritage showing --lol) with onions and garlic, then chop and add cheese and eggs, etc.

      1. re: Nancy Berry

        Thanks! Guess that shows my novice-status...Dinosaur Kale!

      2. Portuguese Kale Soup. I use this Emeril recipe.
        I've used kielbasa in place of chorizo too, and it's delicious.

        1. I really love kale and cannelini beans together. Last week I made some but added roasted red peppers, a ton of parsley, a whole lot of lemon, and some goat cheese. It was a great dish.

          3 Replies
            1. re: debbiel

              This sounds soo good! and i think i have cannelini beans at home too! how do you cook this? just saute in olive oil and garlic?

              1. re: sds

                First a quick disclaimer...since my last post I remembered that we had swiss chard for that dish, not kale. Still, had we kale on hand I would have done it the same way.

                I typically blanch the greens for a few minutes, drain, and chop. Saute in a bit of olive oil, garlic, sometimes some red pepper flakes, sometimes some onions. Add beans and whatever else (e.g., chopped roasted red peppers) to warm. Squeeze lemon juice, stir in crumbled cheese. Ta da. For us it's an easy way to make a pretty complete veggie dinner.

            2. baked kale - you can snack on it like chips.
              wash the kale well and cut into pieces but try to keep the leaves in larger pieces taking out the large stem and vein that runs up the middle as best you can. lightly grease a large cookie sheet with oil and spread the throughly dry leaves in one layer on the sheet and add a little salt - bake at a high temp like 400 - 450 and stir frequently and keep a watchful eye - it will brown and totally dry out and get crisp - usually takes about 20-30 minutes.

              1. Very simple, quick and delicious was to serve dragon kale:

                First, remove the thick, fibrous center stem.
                heat about one or two tablespoons of butter in a saute pan over medium heat.
                When the foam subsides (make sure the butter does not burn) saute one or two teaspoons of minced garlic (to taste) until it starts to slightly brown.

                Add the kale in batches (don't over load pan). Turn heat to high. As kale begins to wilt, making more room in the pan add more kale until all is added.

                If pan begins to brown, add more butter or a little water to deglaze the pan.

                Serve immediately. Enjoy!

                This is also the way I cook spinach. my 9 year old has been eating it this way for many years (although he won't try the kale -- he calls it the evil vegetable). He complains if I don't add enough garlic!