Seductive Kale Salad ♥

Seductive Kale Salad
Today's healthy vegetable recipe: I've fallen for the slow seduction of quick-cooked kale. Low carb. Weight Watchers zero points. Not just vegan, "Vegan Done Real".

Is kale the boy-next-door who just might become the love of your life, if you only paid attention? Like that boy, kale is always there, steady and patient. Like most greens, it's especially obvious during the late months of winter, during the weeks and even months when we so long for fresh foods, straight from the earth. But thanks to the miracle of global food distribution, kale is available and inexpensive year-round. (Miracle? Yes, really. Just think what we'd be eating, week in, week out, without it.)

But kale is also the one who gets invited to the party at the very last minute. It's often an after-thought, just something to throw into a soup or a stew at the end of cooking for texture and color contrast, rarely raised onto a deserved pedestal of adoration.

Well, lemme tell you. Kale has lured me in, slowly, slowly, ever so slowly. It started with an after-thought salad, just a few greens thrown into a skillet with a little bacon grease and some boiling water, then chopped and tossed with a little honey and salt. And here's where it's ended up, the reason why in the last weeks, I've brought home a big bouquet of kale every single trip to the grocery. I finally learned how to cook it. For me. For my taste. For my can't-get-enough, been-eatin'-it-like-candy obsession.

Boiled. There, I said it. OUT LOUD and IN PUBLIC. I like – no, love – kale boiled in salted water. I just throw it in until it's done. I know when it's done when a little taste test reveals a kale that's bright green but almost silky on the tongue, still chewy, mind you, not in the least bit mushy.

From there on, it's easy. Pull it out of the water and drain in a colander. If you want, cut into ribbons, if not, no big deal. If you want, chill it for later. So I guess, in a way, this is a variation of my long-time favorite Greek Greens, the technique I use to hold tender leafy greens like chard and beet greens for a day or two.

But kale is different. It's moist. It tastes so green and alive. It sings me cowboy songs and picks me spring daffodils and wakens me for red sunrises. (Oh wait. That's another love.) Hello, kale, so sorry to ignore you all these years. Will you marry me?

RECIPE for SEDUCTIVE KALE SALAD

Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Time to table: 20 minutes

Well-salted water to cover plus an inch
1 bunch curly kale - or just a few leaves, if you prefer

Bring the water to a boil. While the water boils, rinse the kale well under running water; if it's gritty, rub the leaves with your fingers under running water; if it's still gritty, soak and then rinse again. A stalk at a time, strip the leaves off the heavy stems with your fingers, just by running your fingers, bottom to top, along the stem. Discard the stems.

In one big bunch, drop the kale leaves into the boiling water, pressing to submerge if needed. Bring the water back to a boil, submerging again as needed. After the water has boiled for about 5 minutes, start pulling out a small leaf for a taste test, to see when it starts to taste good and have a palatable chew.

Once cooked to your taste, pour through a colander and let cool. Can be eaten immediately, otherwise, refrigerate until ready to serve.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS Drizzle with lemon juice. Toss with a little olive oil and honey. Toss into garden salads. Mix into fresh-egg omelets. Make tostadas, a layer of corn tortillas in a skillet, topped by a little cooked steak, kale and a little cheese. Eat it like berries, a leaf at a time, just sitting in a bowl sitting on the counter.

ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
When you're washing kale, you'll likely wash it a leaf or two at a time. Just be sure that the leaves you're NOT working on aren't underneath, otherwise you'll end up washing that kale with gritty water.
Some people like the stems but to me, they are bitter and too fibrous. If you like the stems, great, no need to strip off the leaves. Extra easy-peasy.
Trader Joe's sells a decent bag of frozen kale. But I find it even more fussy than bouquets for kale from the grocery, because the TJ kale has been chopped cross-wise with the stems intact. This means removing the stems, one by one, piece by piece. Can you spell TEE-di-us?



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MORE FAVORITE KALE RECIPES
~ Quick 'Massaged' Kale Salad ~
~ Potato, Cabbage & Rapini Colcannon ~
~ Crispy Salty Kale Chips ~
~ more kale recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ Sausage & Kale Split Pea Soup ~
~ Hearty Healthy Chicken Stew with Chickpeas & Kale ~
~ Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Soup ~
~ more kale recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column

A Veggie Venture is home of 'veggie evangelist' Alanna Kellogg and the
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2012


8 comments:

Oh SUCH GLORIOUS writing! LOVE IT! Thank you, Alanna! You've enriched my day, AND I'll be scooping up my OWN handsome bunch of kale in my arms when I veggie-venture out to the store next trip - who could resist?

Sounds delicious! I am growing two types of kale in my garden this year.

My new favorite way to fix kale is with Paul Newman's Light Honey Mustard salad dressing. Delicious, easy and guilt free!

Kale is incredibly easy to grow. And if you let it go to seed, you'll have baby kale popping up in the most unexpected places.

Thanks for the recipe Alanna-I have just discovered grits and greens and will have to try kale next. I didn't know how to cook kale, so you have solved that problem. The recipe for grits and greens is easy-just cook grits with broth and 2 cloves of garlic, according to your recipe. For the greens I add some bacon to skillet to crisp, then saute some onion in a little of the bacon fat, adding a can of diced tomatoes (or fresh)and then the cooked or part cooked kale and cook till the flavors meld.

Laurie ~ Thank you so much for your note, it was a thrill to receive.

BusyWorkingMama ~ Go gardeners!

Anonymous ~ Great tip, thanks, I'll watch for that dressing.

MaryNell ~ I saw kale seeds at the garden store this weekend and thought about popping them into a pot. But it's NINETY-CRAZY degrees already, not good for cool-season greens. I'll try in the fall instead.

PokyPoo ~ Yay, good for you! We really CAN eat more greens, we just need to know what to do with them. For others, here's the recipe Greens & Grits.

Thanks so much, even here in Germany I read your recipies with joy!!!

I adore kale, especially when it's seductive.

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna