Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Eating in the Green: Kale

    One of my many spring loves is the appearance of fresh greens in the kitchen; among them, kale is a favorite. If I were to be honest, I would have to say kale intimidated me at first. As a relative of collards and mustard greens, memories of my grandmother's vinegary wilted greens made me leery. Test and trial are the friends of every cook, and after some yeahs and nays kale has found its place at our table.
    Cooked or fresh, kale does require a healthy dose of acidity for best results. I prep my kale with a good washing, patting it dry, and removing the tough midrib. Tender leaves are chopped or slivered before tossing in a gentle dose of fresh citrus (lemon, lime or orange), or balsamic and a dash of salt. Using my hands I work the juice and salt into the leaves..rubbing and massaging until every bit is well coated. On the counter it sits to 'work' while other elements are prepared.
    The density of kale lends well to saute. I love mine with fresh garlic, some crushed red peppers and a drizzle of olive oil. Just a dash in the pan offers a bright color and tender leaf. My teens love kale dressed only in lemon and salt baked at 400 degrees for five to seven minutes, yielding a crisp chip-like result. Both are great with roasted meat or baked fish.
     Fresh kale makes for a hearty, nutrient dense salad with body and flavor. Prepared kale holds up to any dressing- vinaigrette, mustard or cream based. I love adding a few shredded carrots, toasted nuts, or even a boiled egg or two. The latest favorite is Caesar style with tangy dressing, toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan. Farm boy is partial to our spicy Creole and lime Ranch with Julianne peppers and tortilla crisps.
     As the country's food supply becomes more controversial and questionable, we take responsibility for ourselves as much as possible; growing and producing as we are able. Kale is a hearty food source that should produce through most of the growing season; perfect for my region and fresh greens are an easy and nutritious addition to the table.

3 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

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Sandra said...

We just planted kale for the first time this year. I had never even tried it until this fall when someone at our church brought us some. It was so good. I've never tried it the way you cook it, but I"m going to try it.

Simply Scaife Family said...

Hi, Sandra. I encourage you to test and try kale..it is absolutely wonderful and such a hearty producer. Happy tasting!!