Are Kale varieties interchangeable in recipes?
I hit the motherload on organic winter greens at a farmers market this weekend (4 bunches for $6). Out of the 4 bunches, two of them are varieties of Kale, curly and red Russian. I was reading a recent thread from about kale and a lot of the recipes were for lacinato kale… I hardly see anything about Russian kale and not too much about curly. Does anyone have any experience with switching out kale varieties in recipes? I want to try a kale salad recipe (or something light), but I am not certain it would work with the kale I have…. I know these kinds of kale work in soup, but I don’t want to make soup because I made a kale and white bean soup recently. They look so different, so I'm afraid to blindly experiment.
Thanks in Advance
You should give braising a try. You can also saute until soft and blend into smashed potatoes.
When braising, I like to use chicken stock and a pinch of pepperoncini. Throw in a can of cannelini beans for a really hearty dish. Kale takes well to a sweet/sour braise too-- a little vinegar and sugar really wakes it up.
Here's one of my own favorite kale recipes, & one I've made with all 3 varieties of kale mentioned here - Curly, Red Russian, & the "Black" (aka "Dinosaur" or "Lancinato"):
BREEZY GREEK PENNE PASTA WITH KALE AND FETA
Half to 1 pound penne pasta (Barilla is my favorite brand), cooked according to al dente package directions & drained
1 block/container of Feta cheese, chopped/crumbled
Approx. 12-24 Kalamata olives, pitted, & roughly chopped **
Approx. 1 pound/bunch of Kale, rinsed, stems removed & discarded, & leaves roughly sliced/chopped
½ a large or 1 small red onion, peeled & chopped
A few dollops of extra virgin olive oil for sauteeing
Dash or so of chicken broth or water
Dash of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
While the cooked pasta is draining in a colander, heat the olive oil in the pot the pasta was cooked in & saute the onion until softened but not brown. Add the chopped kale, stir a bit until wilted, & add a dash or 2 of chicken broth or water if necessary to prevent burning. Add chopped olives, cooked pasta, feta cheese, & crushed red pepper & stir again – gently - until pasta is heated through. Serve hot or at room temperature.
** If you can’t obtain pitted olives, pitting them is accomplished easily by simply placing your broad kitchen knife (sharp side away from you) over each olive & briskly hitting down on the knife with your hand. Olive will break open & pit will be easy to remove.
I absolutely love kale. A couple of frequent applications:
Braised Kale and Tomatoes
1 large bunch of kale (~1.5 lbs), washed and torn into small pieces
1 small can crushed tomatoes
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
olive oil (or any oil, really)
dried chili flakes
Saute the garlic in oil over medium-high heat. Add the kale and saute for a few minutes. Salt generously, then add the tomatoes and chili flakes. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
Kale and Cannelinis (a weeknight life-saver! Ready in 20 minutes tops)
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
a big pinch dried rosemary
a smaller pinch crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 bunch kale, torn or chopped (you can use chard/silverbeet or any other cooking green; adjust cooking time accordingly)
1 can cannelini beans, drained
a squeeze of lemon juice and/or a splash of vermouth or white wine
veggie stock or water
1 or 2 eggs per person, poached or fried (optional)
grated cheese (optional)
crusty bread, sliced and toasted
*Heat olive oil and saute garlic until fragrant. Add rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Add kale and stir until slightly wilted. Add beans, lemon juice and/or wine, and enough veggie stock or water to make a soupy consistency (1/2 - 1 c.). Cook until the kale is tender, 5-10 minutes.
*Put toasted bread in the bottom of shallow bowls and pour the kale and cannelinis over it. Top with cheese and a (soft!!) poached or fried egg, if desired.
I also highly recommend kale chips. Recipes abound -- they were quite a sensation a little while back, and for good reason. The texture is totally unique, shatteringly crisp.
I've never had a problem using whatever variety is at hand, I frequently even switch varieties of greens (so collards in place of spinach). Just adjust the cooking time to suit your taste. I've used curly kale in this, both roasted and raw: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo.... It worked both ways.
Don't be afraid to experiment. Greens are very forgiving ... until you cook them too long :-)
I find the Red Russian kale to be the most delicate of the kale varieties I have tried. It's the only one I think can (for me) be eaten raw. We've added it to salads, e.g., and it takes a lot less time to cook than curly kale. So if substituting the red for a recipe calling for curly, keep that in mind.
I find the curly kale to be the hardiest (or toughest, I guess, depending on your viewpoint). I think it takes the most liquid to get tender. I have substituted the curly for the black Tuscan kale if that's what my farmer had. I just know that it takes a little bit longer to cook (so when blanching for a spicy white pizza recipe, I cooked it a few minutes extra before draining).
That's a great price, by the way. I'm jealous!
When making the pizza, I blanched the curly kale about 7 min (maybe 8) before proceeding. The pizza recipe is from Slice. I'll put it below if you'd like to try it.
Spicy Black Kale White Pizza
1 dough (home made or store bought raw)
1 bunch black kale (you can sub the curly as I did)
pecorino romano, grated
garlic, thinly sliced
salami picante, sliced
Calabrian chiles in oil (I subbed a little spoonful of harissa warmed in olive oil to create the chile oil)
--blanch the kale. Shock it in ice water to stop the cooking. Squeeze dry really well and then chop. Season with a little salt.
--heat some olive oil (not smoking hot) and add the chiles (or the harissa if you are substituting). Then puree in a blender/processor so you have a chile oil.
--stretch out the dough. Top with torn pieces of the mozzarella, and then the grated pecorino romano.
--sprinkle the garlic slices over top of the cheeses. Then sprinkle the chopped kale on top. Arrange the sliced salami on top. (about 12 slices, I think)
--bake the pizza (I have a stone so it doesn't take longer than 10 minutes). When the pizza comes out of the oven, drizzle with the chile oil. Then let the pizza rest a few minutes before cutting into it.
I've also made the pizza without the salami (so it's vegetarian) and that's also very good.