All Hail Kale

A shot of some deliciously green Kale.

A shot of some deliciously green Kale.

Continuing with my series on leafy green veggies, this week’s leafy vegetable is Curly Kale!   Kale?  Isn’t that the stuff you plant in your garden along with mums in the fall?  Yep it is, but that’s ornamental kale and trust me you don’t usually want to eat it.  Kale is a kind of cabbage that grows in bunches of big plumy leaves, rather than in tight heads like a cabbage used for the familiar coleslaw.  When cooked, kale will not wilt like a typical green, but maintains its volume and becomes a bit sweet. Kale can be steamed, blanched, boiled and sautéed or as in the case of the recipe below, baked.

To prepare kale for cooking, wash well in lots of cold water with the bowl/colander method described in my last  leafy greens post.  Hold the bottom of the stem in your right hand with the leaves facing to the left.  Hold the bottom of the leaves in your left hand and pull the stem upward as if you are stripping open a  plastic pouch.  In your right hand you will have the stem and your left the leaves (do the opposite if you are left-handed).  Don’t worry about the little bit of green left on the stem.  Proceed with your recipe.

Raw Kale

Post Kale “shucking”. Don’t worry about the remaining green on the stem.

This dish is the only side you will need and it practically cooks itself.

Baked Curly Kale with Potatoes, Garlic, Fennel and Olives

  • 1 ½ Lbs curly kale
  • 1 ½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes or other yellow fleshed potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 small fennel bulb, stalks removed and bulb sliced
  • About 20 oil cured olives, pitted
  • About 3 Tbl olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ C water
  • ¼ C dry vermouth
  • Pepper
  • 1 Tbl lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cut washed kale into strips about ½ inch wide.
  3. Cut potatoes into quarters or leave whole if they are very small.
  4. Cut olives in half.
  5. Heat 2 Tbl oil on a large ovenproof pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  6. Add potatoes and fennel and toss.
  7. Add kale, water, olives and vermouth.  Bring to boil.
  8. Cover tightly, put in the oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender, stirring gently once during cooking.
  9. Uncover and drizzle with 1 tbl olive oil, lemon juice and pepper to taste.  Serve hot or at room temperature.

When you bring this to the table they will be playing “Kale to the Chef”.

As easy as easy can be and the only side dish you'll need for a meal.

As easy as easy can be and the only side dish you’ll need for a meal.

Categories: Leafy Greens, Sides

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