A few years back I joined a CSA and went to pick up my box of fabulous vegetables, grown in my own town, once a week. I joined because the farmer (who sadly is no longer in business) grew the most delicious heirloom tomatoes and I was tired of only being able to get my hands on them at my favorite restaurants. I needed some for myself. As many as possible, really. Besides tomatoes, one of his most prolific crops was kale. I hadn’t had kale very much at that point, but I had heard a lot about it. I had so much kale bounty I was giving up on it and tossing some out, even though I felt really bad doing it. What was I to do with all those extremely hearty, and quite expensive, greens?? My Mom came to the rescue, and we started experimenting. We read recipes, tried them out, choked down some not so great results, and then…. We got the hang of it. I no longer have any problems with kale. Give me a bunch of curly, lacinto (dinosaur), red kale, or baby kale, and I can make it yum.
Here are some of my secrets:
- Baby Kale is much milder and easier to work with/eat than “adult” varieties.
- Kale is really good cooked in brothy soups.
- For “adult” or large leaves, it’s best to take out the stems, chop them, and cook them longer than the leaves.
- You can vigorously rub raw kale with olive oil for 5-10 minutes and it changes it so it tastes good raw. I like to grind sea salt on as well.
- If you are putting it in a green smoothie you really need to use a high powered blender. If you don’t it won’t blend all the way and you will be choking down little pieces of it.
- You can freeze bags of baby kale and then take some out of the freezer whenever you want to put some in a smoothie.
- It holds up well after it is dressed, and is good in salads that you want to make ahead, or take on a picnic.
- Chopped, baby kale is really delicious with fresh lime juice. (Think taco greens…)
Check out my “10 Ways” series for specific recipes.