I started a love affair with kale yesterday. You think I’m speaking hyperbolically, but I’m not. I love kale's green leafy fabulousness with everything that I am.
I haven’t always had this love. Actually, I’ve avoided kale for years now. I’ve gone out of my way to be sure I never put it in my shopping basket. My refrigerator crisper has remained steadfastly—and, on certain days, quite proudly—a kale-free zone.
And this is why: Kale ROCKS.
I’m not even going to go into the nutritional aspect: It’s green, it’s leafy, you get the picture. I love kale on taste alone, which means only one thing: Our love was meant to be.
How, you ask, did I make the journey from shunner of kale to ardent paramour? After a bunch of the stuff made its way into my shopping basket this weekend (unbeknownst to yours truly), I decided to make a little lunch with it yesterday. After consulting with Queen Kale (my sister) as to the ins and outs of this leafy wonder, I improvised a little dish that was so good I had to share (read: proselytize). Below, the recipe.
Oh, first, I should mention that I added some homemade roasted tomatoes that I happened to have in the fridge to my kale wonder dish, so I’ve included that recipe as well. Roasted tomatoes are a cinch to make and they’re great to have around so you can add them to all kinds of savory dishes (or put on a piece of crusty bread…or plop atop a wedge of parmesan). Without further ado, the steps to kale nirvana:
What you need:
1 bunch kale
1 large shallot
1 clove garlic
About 1 cup chicken stock (I used Pacific Natural Foods organic low sodium—delish)
Roasted tomatoes—8 halves or so (see recipe below)
What you do:
Take one bunch of washed, trimmed kale and chop it into thin strips. In a large sauté pan, sauté one large diced shallot and smashed garlic clove (which you remove at the end) in olive oil (add salt and pepper) for just a couple minutes. Then, put the big frizzy mass of kale into the pan, drizzle the chicken broth over top, add some more salt for good measure and then cover.
I checked my kale after about 7 minutes or so, gave it a stir and taste (adding more salt, natch) and it was fantastic. To make it even better, chop the roasted tomatoes and add them. Cover to warm through, check seasoning and enjoy! Another terrific finisher would be a squeeze of lemon or a liberal dusting of parmesan.
Ok, for the roasted tomatoes:
What you need:
Plum tomatoes—the ones that have no taste—any number (I typically make a big cookie sheet of these things, so figure on 10-15 tomatoes.
What you do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with either a silpat mat or tinfoil. Cut plum tomatoes in half lengthwise and take out all the seeds (leaving the center membrane). Because I hate stems, or even the semblance of them (it’s completely weird, I know), I also remove that tippy top dimple where the stem used to be attached. Do not by any means feel like you should follow this step that borders on the insane.
Next, put all the tomato halves cut-side up on the baking sheet. Liberally drizzle olive oil all over—and I mean liberally. What will come out of the oven will be a rich, tomato-y olive oil that you can flavor countless things with (barley, pasta, veggies, fish, meat…a wedge of parmesan—do you see a theme here?), so don’t be chintzy with your drizzle. Sprinkle salt, pepper and dried oregano over top. Pop the whole sheet into the oven for about an hour. Every oven is different, so check your tomato babies a couple times, turning the baking sheet if necessary. Also, you might find that they need more than an hour or perhaps less. When they start to turn a little brown around the edges, that’s typically when I take them out. Let cool on sheet, then store (along with all remaining olive oil—don’t let that stuff go to waste!) in a plastic container in the fridge.
I’m well aware that I’m hardly the first person to try kale, much less have an inkling of what to do with it. So why an entire post about it? What can I say…I’m giddy with happiness over my new veggie steady.