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Good uses for baby kale?

k
karykat May 19, 2008 04:06 PM

The produce guy at my coop inspired me to buy a package of baby kale. He said that its much more tender and maybe less strong tasting. I think he said you could use it raw in salads, for example.

Anybody used this stuff and have some good ideas?

  1. o
    oryza May 19, 2008 06:27 PM

    Yummy... Kale is great! My favorite ways to eat it are either: braised (in dutch oven, no oil or water needed; just its own juice and dress with EVOO and cracked pepper) or wilted with bacon or ham.
    You can eat it raw, but I find it has a way of coating my tongue that I find unpleasant (like raw spinach does).

    1. h
      howchow May 20, 2008 06:39 PM

      kale chips...wash and dry - place in a single layer on a lightly oiled baking sheet with a sprinkle of salt - into oven at 450 - toss every 5 minutes or so until totally dry - about 20 minutes...tasty healthy eating.

      1. k
        kshankar May 21, 2008 07:07 AM

        I can eat it raw, but then I think I don't have that bitter "supertaster" gene...
        One of my favorites: cook it with garlic, ginger, and onions, ground cumin, ground coriander, hot chili (dried or fresh). Potatoes and/or tomatoes are a good addition. Semi-authentic Indian home cooking. Now that I think about it, I do this with almost any greens, young or old. If they're big leaves, I'll cut them small, or even puree them.

        1. Tom P May 21, 2008 09:38 AM

          Kale is awesome. And terrific in terms of healthy eating. Below are two recipes I eat all the time with it:

          KALE SCRAMBLE

          2 T EVOO
          2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
          2 - 3 large handfuls kale (or any fresh green: chard, beet green, spinach, etc) washed and torn into bite sized pieces, stems removed
          2 T crumbled feta (or goat cheese or shredded manchego, etc)
          3-4 eggs, lightly beaten
          small handful kalamata olives, torn or chopped
          salt and papper
          1 lemon, halved

          - Heat EVOO over medium hear, add garlic and stir until soft, being careful not to brown
          - Add greens and salt& pepper, and sauté until desired consistency (I like them softer but with still a bit of a bite; others may want to sauté until quite soft)
          - Sprinkle cheese all over the greens, then pour in eggs
          - Cook until desired consistency. I just cook them as if to scramble, stirring…you could also evenly distribute everything in the pan, cover, and let cook by sitting.
          - Top with olives and squeeze of lemon (this really makes the dish)

          PASTA WITH GREENS

          This pasta below is a current favorite of mine. I often make it with Swiss Chard, but I love it with Kale, which 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.)

          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 Reply
          1. re: Tom P
            g
            grangie angie Nov 20, 2011 12:28 PM

            Have been making Tom P's suggested kale w/pasta for years,do it at least weekly ,we love it so much.
            In fact,any bitter green will work....love the bitter greens!

          2. Caitlin McGrath May 21, 2008 07:20 PM

            This Digest entry on kale has links to some kale salad recipes that came highly recommended by chowhounds, and the thread linked in the entry has many ideas, some of which may inspire you with your baby kale. http://www.chow.com/digest/5386

            1. k
              karykat May 22, 2008 10:41 AM

              Thanks for all these ideas and links. I will be doing some experimenting, maybe starting with that pasta.

              1. porker May 22, 2008 10:45 AM

                I think I remember Woody saying Gary's secret ingredient in Boston's best bloody mary was kale?
                Hope this helps.

                1 Reply
                1. re: porker
                  a
                  amy poe Nov 20, 2011 12:21 PM

                  Black cardamom, Sam! Stick with celery.

                2. b
                  Breezychow Nov 20, 2011 12:34 PM

                  Here's a favorite I developed that uses both baby Swiss Chard & baby Kale. You can easily use just the baby Kale & I'm sure it will be delicious.

                  Breezy Baby Potatoes With Greens

                  A couple of handfuls of tiny little baby potatoes, boiled until just tender, & drained
                  A couple of handfuls of baby Swiss Chard & chopped kale (I used a bagged mix of baby "Bright Lights" Swiss Chard, chopped mature Swiss Chard varieties, & several varieties of baby kale put out by the Wegmans supermarket chain)
                  4 cloves of garlic, peeled & chopped
                  2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
                  2 tablespoons unsalted butter
                  A couple of splashes of dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
                  Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
                  Kosher or sea salt to taste

                  Quarter or halve boiled potatoes depending on size. Heat oil & butter in a skillet large enough to hold all ingredients. Add potatoes & saute gently until "just" starting to brown. Add greens, garlic, crushed red pepper, & salt, & fold gently into potatoes. Add white wine, fold a few times more, lower heat, & continue cooking until greens have wilted down & all stem pieces are tender.

                  Was absolutely delicious, colorful, & we cleaned our plates. I'm SO glad I cooked extra baby potatoes so I can make it again this week with the rest of the bagged baby greens!

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