|A typical weekly harvest: curly and lacinato|
Y’all may have noticed over this growing season that I’ve been harvesting kale. Like, a really huge amount of kale. It’s October and my plants show no signs of slowing down, so as you can imagine, there has been a constant pile of crinkly leaves in my fridge just waiting to be eaten. The question is, how?
Although there are countless ways to use this green (kale chips are a classic, and my friend Emily makes green pancakes), I have four kale-flavored dishes that I make on a regular basis. In all cases, be sure to remove the tough stems first; I compost them, although you can also chop them finely and cook them like broccoli.
1. Smoothies. If you don’t like the texture of kale, green smoothies are the perfect place to start. Try this recipe; you won’t taste the kale overtly, but it’s actually a nice complement to the berries. Just be sure to thoroughly blend the kale and liquid first so you don’t end up with chunks in your drink.
2. Salad. Kale is so tough that I initially wrote it off as a salad ingredient. However, this year I’ve learned the secrets of a good kale salad: chop the leaves finely, massage them for a few minutes, and use a sharp vinaigrette (I usually use a tablespoon or so of red wine vinegar or lemon juice mixed with salt, pepper, dijon mustard, and a tablespoon of olive oil). Kale pairs well with sweet and/or crunchy flavors, so try it with chopped apples, toasted nuts, and/or dried cranberries. Kale salads last for days in the fridge, too.
3. Pasta. Chop the kale finely, sautée it in a bit of butter or bacon grease with some garlic until it’s wilted, and use it to top your favorite pasta, along with some chopped tomato and parmesan. It also works very well with white sauce.
4. Stir-fry. Kale is hardy enough to stand up well to stir-frying, and gives the dish a nice cruciferous taste, similar to broccoli. My go-to stir-fry combination is onion, garlic, ginger, carrots or sweet potatoes, kale, and peas, added to the pan in that order.
What are your favorite kale recipes?