Kale is a powerhouse of nutrients that can be prepared in a variety of inspired ways, from simply boiling to making kale chips. Learn how here.
Although kale has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years, American cooks seem to just now be taking it seriously as something more than a garnish. It's a good thing they are, because kale has the health advantages of a cruciferous vegetable in lowering cancer risk, and it's also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K and a very good source of fiber, potassium, and calcium. Kale is a member of the cabbage family and has a cabbagelike flavor. It thrives in cold climates and is in season in the winter months, although it is available year-round and can be grown in warmer climes as well. Kale leaves are long and frilly, with a tough center stalk, and can vary in color and texture (see varieties below). Kale can be used similarly to spinach. The kale chips below are trendy and fun to eat, and but also try kale boiled, sauteed, and slow-simmered.
Types of Kale
The three main types available in the United States are:
Selecting and Storing Kale
How to Prep and Clean Kale
How to Boil Kale
In a large saucepan bring a small amount of water (about 2 cups) and a little salt (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon) to boiling. Add 12 ounces torn kale. Return to boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Drain.
How to Saute Kale
In a large skillet heat 4 teaspoons olive oil. Add 12 ounces torn dinosaur or curly kale. Cook, covered, for 1 minute. Uncover and cook and stir for 1 minute more or just until wilted. If desired, season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
How to Slow-Simmer Kale
This makes a potful and will serve 8 to 10 plus leftovers. If you prefer, for a meatless option, omit the ham hocks and use vegetable stock; you might want to increase the seasonings.
How to Make Kale Chips
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 2 cups torn kale leaves on the prepared baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until crisp.