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Kale-What Do YOU Do?

I went for dinner with family last week. Everyone got a chunk of kale on their plate. I asked for a take out box and took it all home. I've never cooked kale before. Because I was busy at work in my home office, I just chopped it into ribbons one day, tossed in a big clove of minced garlic and a tablespoon of water, cover with plastic wrap and nuked. I drained the water, added a pat of butter and thoroughly enjoyed my first kale dish.

I think it's very good for you, being very dark green. I really like it a lot.

So what else should I do with kale? I have a bag I actually paid for in the fridge, just waiting for something fun. Anything from easy to hard is fine. I dig salads. Does anyone eat kale raw?

Kind regards, Scott

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  1. Add to salad; saute w/ finely diced onions, garlic in olive oil, add red pepper flakes; also soup! Fabulous in a good chicken soup! And (I haven't tried this) I believe you could probably deep fry the leaves and use as garnish or very tasty cocktail munchies.

    1. Stir-fry with sliced lotus roots

      Chop up the leaves (discard the stems) and make soup with some daikon and seaweed

      And of course, the dim sum favorite ... steam and dress with hoisin sauce

      1. i like to blanch them for a minute, cool w/ running water, and then chop into bite size pieces. then mix w/ soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, vinegar, sugar, crushed red pepper and sliced green onions. yum.

        1. I enjoy a potato and kale soup that I learned in a book by Deborah Madison. I strip the stems off the kale and set the stems aside to simmer in some water, which makes a stock (I discard the stems when done). I gently cook onion, lots of garlic, bay leaf, red pepper flakes (just a little or it will be too hot) in extra virgin olive oil. Oh, put in some salt, of course. Add some diced boiling potatoes and a cup of water and cover it for a bit and then add the kale leaves, which you have cut into nice pieces. They seem huge, but if you cover the pot, they will wilt down to fit. Add your stock now and simmer until potatoes and veggies are done. I mush some of the potatoes with a spoon and add more salt and some fresh ground pepper.

          Oh, wash or rinse the kale first, of course. I don't usually peel the potatoes, because I like the red, so I just scrub them to death. Use about a pound of potatoes and use the entire bunch of kale as it comes in the market. I use the simple curly-ish sort. It makes 4 or 5 servings, depending on how hungry you are or if you serve it with something, if I remember. I don't really pay attention. You could use a stock besides the kale stems, I suppose, but I've never done so. I like it as a simple soup, and worry that more flavors would just muddle it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: saltwater

            This is even better if you add some chorizo!

            1. re: greedygirl

              Caldo Verde is a wonderful soup. I make it from time to time. Hearty with good flavors. I also use kale as I would collards or other greens. They are sweeter and very tasty when just braised.

              1. re: saltwater

                For me, the stems are the best part of kale...love it stir fried.

              2. Masamba: steamed ribbons of kale with a sauce of peanut butter and salsa. It's based on a dish from Malawi where masamba means greens or farm. We generally have this with potatoes.

                Other good toppings for kale include balsamic vinegar or lemon juice or tamari. We sometimes steam kale and add it to pasta with a sauce of tinned tomatoes with some tahini mixed in.

                1. We love it in soups and salads...I always eat my kale garnish when out for lunch...and you are correct that it is very good for you! Haven't tried this method yet but it looks interesting...Kale Chips, not fried, but roasted in a hot oven! Here's a recipe if you're so inclined:

                  http://www.recipezaar.com/110071

                  1. Heat some minced garlic in a bit of oil in a nonstick pan, add chopped kale and stir until wilted, then add some plumped raisins and lightly toasted pine nuts. One of my favorite healthy dinners since it's so satisfying it requires no accompaniments.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JoanN

                      Except bacon! Sounds great...even without bacon.

                    2. Chop up the kale. Crisp a few slices of bacon in a large skillet or pot. Remove the bacon and reserve. Toss the kale in the pot, pepper it generously, add a splash of white wine or chicken stock or just water. Stir. Cover and allow to steam and wilt for a few minutes. Add a touch of vinegar, cider is usual, balsamic tastes good too. Crumble in the bacon, toss and serve.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: morwen

                        There's my bacon! Sounds great too! I'll bet bacon is an awesome match with kale... Or chorizo, as someone mentioned.

                      2. Chop up with collards, cook ham hocks/smoked turkey and 50/50 chardonnay and water. Salt, pepper, hot sauce.

                        1. With the right kind of kale - Tuscan, also known as lacinato or dinosaur kale - this is fantastic:

                          http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/24/din...

                          I usually omit the breadcrumbs - totally superfluous, IMHO.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Bat Guano

                            Ooh. I second Bat's rec. I've made this salad a zillion times, along with another on epicurious (do a search on raw kale, ricotta salata) that is another variation that calls for ricotta salata. Both are so good, I can eat an entire bunch of kale in 2 or 3 days this way. I've done both with and without breadcrumbs. It's a way way better version of caesar salad, so sometimes, I've used croutons instead of the breadcrumbs.

                            The only pain is because it's raw, I end up spending lots of time inspecting for annoying little buggers that hide in the crevices of the kale.

                            1. re: Bat Guano

                              I _really_ like the Cavolo Nero pesto recipe found here: http://www.saveur.com/food/classic-re...

                              I've tried this with other types of kale and it's not quite as good.

                            2. Thanks for all the great ideas!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: scuzzo

                                Spritz leaves with olive oil, toss with salt and pepper, roast briefly at 425, turning once. My husband loves these like potato chips.

                              2. I like the Deborah Madison recipe for kale and white beans--it's a perfect blend of a salad and a soup--usually steam the kale in homemade chicken stock first and keep it in with the rest of the recipe (shallots, garlic, rosemary, white wine, lemon, parmesean, can of white beans, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper).

                                1. Cut out ribs, stuff and steam.

                                  1. Usually cook like collards with ham hocks, aromatics and seasoned salt.

                                    Otherwise, cut into ribbons and add to pork in tamarind broth.

                                    2 Replies
                                      1. re: scuzzo

                                        Collards aren't the same as kale, but they are similar cultivars. I find most bitter greens do well with the ham hocks, aromatics, salt preparation.

                                    1. also with raw dinosaur kale, take one part Braggs amino acids, two parts olive oil, and one part nutritional yeast. Mix everything but the kale together, pour over raw chopped kale. You will not believe how good it is!

                                      1. There is a great recipe that is on Epicurious something along the lines of Kale Salad with Ricotta Salata. Amazing - I am not a big veggie person but I love this recipe. Sounds so simple but actually rather tasty and healthy. Essentially, raw kale (use Lucinato/Black Kale), chopped shallot, lemon juice, olive oil, and grated ricotta salata cheese. Hardest part of the recipe is finding the kale and the cheese.

                                        1. Here's a great recipe for Portuguese Kale and Sausage soup. I made it twice and it's really filling and warms you up inside. I also added the immersion blender to blend about half of it before I put in the sausage: http://champaign-taste.blogspot.com/2...

                                          Meryl
                                          http://mylittleworldoffood.blogspot.com/

                                          1. I like to cook it and add to chicken sausage and white beans

                                            1. Kale is not only tasty but also has more iron than spinach (eat your heart out Popeye!).
                                              Cook it quickly to retain the goodness. Just steam or boil it, with carraway seeds.
                                              The carraway seeds (not too many) are a good addition to any brassica.

                                              A spicier version is to shred it, boil it with small pasta (troffiette are good) so it ends up 2/3 kale to 1/3 pasta. Meanwhile warm a little diced chilli in some olive oil and add then drained kale and a little lemon juice.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: David Borkin

                                                Kale like most greens is loaded with vitamin K which is good for blood clotting. A warning to those on blood thinners who are on strick control. Not like it is something you eat every day but should be considered.

                                              2. I think I may have had my last kale of the winter (hurrah!). I steamed it briefly and then quickly stir-fried it with garlic and oyster sauce.

                                                1. Kale and beans or Kale and mushrooms. These are my two favorite kale combinations. I love kale, ham and bean soup and kale, mushroom and wild rice soup. Here's my favorite kale salad with roasted red peppers, roasted garlic creamy cannelini beans and lots of lemon juice: http://www.grouprecipes.com/7542/kale...

                                                  1. Sautee chopped garlic in a little EVOO, add roughly chopped kale, cover and cook till kale is wilted. Place 6 +/- oz. pieces of any firm white fish (we usually use cod, hallibut, or haddock.. but I've also used salmon) on top of the kale, sprinkle with S & P, cover and let fish steam till flesh is just opaque.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                      I like to saute some onions or shallots and garlic in a some olive oil, then add chopped kale, salt and pepper, and then pour a little red wine over it all and let it wilt with the lid on for a while. I think the earthy flavor of the kale goes really well with red wine...

                                                    2. (I may be repeating things, I did not read every post)

                                                      Raw Kale Salad is great - Whole Foods has one I love. Just slice it, dress it with a rat lemony vinaigrette and and add pine nuts, chopped red onions, or dried cherries, many variations.

                                                      This pasta below is a current favorite of mine. I often make it with Swiss Chard, but I love it with Kale, it gives it a wonderfully spicy kick. (A mixture of greens, all kinds...mustard, spinach, beet, etc - is also terrific. I love it with beet greens alone.)

                                                      PASTA WITH GREENS

                                                      Slice the chard/kale/etc about twice the size of matchsticks... it doesn't have to be exact, you could tear it, even.

                                                      Then, saute it in a mixture of olive oil and butter with chopped onion, garlic (chopped or slivered) and as they cook down, add chopped parsley. (I often add a variety of herbs, though just italian parsley works great. If I have them, I also add chopped tomatoes.)

                                                      Then toss it with fresh cooked pasta and grated parmesean or pecorino.

                                                      You can also add a little wine or chicken or vegetable broth about halfway through the saute for additional flavor.

                                                      This is very tasty.

                                                      1. i blanch it. meanwhile, i sautee a shallot in a little butter. i chop up the kale, and add it to the shallot with a pinch each of sugar, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. then i add a small splash of cream, just a tablespoon or so.

                                                        i have never met anyone, even a child, who does not like it cooked liked this.

                                                        i also enjoy the ricotta salata-kale salad.

                                                        1. I rinse, chop it up into small pieces and here's the trick: massage it with olive oil for atleast 3 minutes. This will break up the toughness and bitterness. I then add red onion, grana padano and roasted hazelnuts. I have convinced many a kale-hater with this salad. It is so amazing.

                                                          1. i actually love raw kale in a salad. I saute a red onion so it's nice and caramelized, then toss over kale that I've torn into bite size pieces, sprinkle a little goat cheese and balsamic vinegar and done. My go-to winter salad.

                                                            1. Tonight I'm making a Portuguese garden kale and salt cod meal.