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Dec 27, 2011 02:32 PM

Kale Preparation

Any suggestions on how to cook this stuff? I love it, but every time I prepare it (saute), it comes out so darn tough. I'm sure boiling it would be the easiest method, but a lot of nutrients are lost when it is boiled, which is why I always saute it. The last time I prepared it, I must have let it go for 20 minutes. I stopped the cooking process because it began to look unappetizing (deep, deep green, almost black) and it was still tough! Any suggestions besides eating collard greens or spinach instead? :D

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  1. How are you prepping it before cooking?
    I think with kale , low and slow is the way to go. Steamed or sauteed with liquid.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ROCKLES

      I'm with rockles on this. Garlic is great if you braise it--chicken stock and/or bacon is great for flavor. Sauteing it with no liquid just won't work if you want it tender. (You can also separate the leaves from the stems for a different dish.)

      1. re: ROCKLES

        As far as prep goes, I just cut the leaves from the stem then do a course chop. I saute them down with garlic and oil, just as I do with spinach.

      2. kale chips?

        Honestly, I think the toothsomeness is part of the allure of kale, but I understand it's not for everyone. It might be the variety--IME the lactinato (dinosaur) kale is toughest. Some of the less wrinkly varieties seem less so. Collard greens are typically tougher yet and want to be braised, so I wouldn't go there.
        Along with spinach, chard is a good dark green leafy that's much more tender and perhaps more to your liking.

        As far as altering your kale cooking, I would suggest going with a smaller chop or shred vs. larger. Don't be afraid to go all the way to chiffonade and see if that suits you better. I've seen recipes for raw salads of kale that way. Never tried that, but it's a quick saute friendly prep, too. You could also try blanching it first. The trade off between tender and bright green is always going to be an issue.

        3 Replies
        1. re: splatgirl

          Could you blanch it then ice to retain the color? Then continue the cooking process?

          1. re: ROCKLES

            that is what I was thinking, yes. Blanch and then introduce to a super hot skillet and some fat...

          2. re: splatgirl

            It might be the variety--IME the lactinato (dinosaur) kale is toughest.
            really? i think the curly kale varieties are much tougher.

          3. If you want to retain the nutrients and make it tender, just chop it and stir it into a soup. You'll eat the broth to get the nutrients and end up with some nice mouthfuls of yummy kale. It's great in potato soup.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Isolda

              A soup was my thought too. It is actually the only way I've cooked kale (it's not my favorite, plus I favor the quick sauté or blanch/saute for my greens). I did a nice spicy tomato based soup with zucchini, lentils, barley, carrots, and kale. I cut it into wide ribbons and let it cook for the last hour of the soup. It came out quite delicious, which was great for me, because I just bought it on a whim.

            2. Highly reccommend blanching it in boiling water first. You might lose a bit of nutritional value, but it will taste better and you will eat it - worth it IMO. I haven't had "al dente" kale that I enjoyed very much, either. Now, what I really need to try soon is the crispy cooked kale in the oven that I've seen recently on a Jacques Pepin show.

              1. Is it lacinato kale? If so, make a salad : cu tit in strips, add chopped good black olives, parm and dress with olive oil and sherry vinegar, let sit one hour before eating.

                4 Replies
                1. re: magiesmom

                  Another really nice dressing is just lemon juice and a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper

                    1. re: DrMag

                      I just found a nice addition, which is capers. They made a nice little salty, briny pop of flavor in a thinly sliced kale salad with oil and lemon juice.