Monday, December 6, 2010

Cold comfort: Kale is back

I took this picture on a snowy morning last winter at the Matthews Community Farmers Market. But I almost got to replay it this Saturday at the Charlotte Regional Market: Sleet on the way there, tiny flakes of snow while I was shopping.

I had to miss a couple of market weeks thanks to that turkey-choking calendar lump called Thanksgiving. So I took a quick survey: Apples are starting to dwindle, broccoli is almost done. Winter squash were hard to find because Thanksgiving shoppers wiped them out. Brussels sprouts haven't show up yet.

But the kale is back! Dinosaur, Siberian, green.

Regular readers know that is big news at my house. Go here for a repost of last winter's story about my struggle to find a way to get my husband to eat kale. It has a bunch of cool kale tricks, including the amazing crunchy kale chips. And it has one of my favorite recipes of the year, Tuscan Kale Salad. People ask for copies of it all the time and tell me they're addicted to it.

Seriously, raw kale. It's easy, fast and packs major flavors of lemon, pepper and garlic. Kale was with us until well into March last year, so keep this one handy.

Tuscan Kale Salad

Adapted from the New York Times

1 large bunch kale

1 slice country-style bread or 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely grated pecorino Romano or Parmesano Reggiano, divided

About 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Juice of 1 lemon, freshly squeezed

1/4 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Freshly ground black pepper

Trim off the bottoms of the kale stems and discard. Pile up the leaves and slice into ribbons about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide. You should have 5 or 6 cups. Pile them in a large serving bowl or salad bowl.

Toast the bread lightly, then pulse in a food processor or rub on the large holes of a cheese grater to make coarse crumbs. If you're using fresh bread crumbs, spread them on a pan and toast them lightly.

Pound the garlic clove into paste in a mortar or with the back of a large knife. Place garlic in a small bowl. (If I use a mortar, I just mix the dressing right in it.) Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper flakes and pepper. Whisk to combine.

Pour over the kale, using tongs to toss well. Let stand at least 5 minutes and up to 15 or 20 minutes. Add bread crumbs, remaining 2 tablespoons cheese and a little drizzle of additional oil and toss again before serving.


Anonymous said...

"... back"?
... and where have you been?

Anonymous said...

My wife cooks sausage up, and then adds fennel seed and Kale into the mix. You simmer that for about 15 minutes while boiling pasta. mix that together with a little Olive Oil. It is delicious and unique in flavor

erin said...

Ummmmmmm kale! My favorite green! I saute it in a little olive oil and butter with tons of red chili, garlic, salt, and pepper, pour over a little chicken stock and let it wilt. A little parm cheese over the top, heaven!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the post. I have been reading up on good ways to cook Kale ever since I learned about it from