Monday, November 12, 2012

My 5-Minute Kale Recipe That Never Fails

I love kale in a ridiculous, head over heels sort of way. Yeah, it's super good for you, but it has other (perhaps more important??) qualities- like taste. Kale leaves are sturdier and heartier than spinach, with a satisfying crunch to the stems. They have a slight hint of sweet taste as well, which pairs well with a savory cooking, or can be served in a slightly sweeter dish.

By far the best thing about kale however, is how simple it is to prepare. It literally takes 5 minutes to prepare one of the healthiest foods you can put into your body! It tastes great and goes well with everything from fried eggs (oh yes, I often eat kale and eggs for breakfast), to pasta with marinara sauce, to meat and potatoes.

For me, this is the ultimate eater's win, and I'm not ashamed to tell you that my family eats kale at least three times per week when it's in season. Another great thing about kale? It loves cold weather- so it's readily available in the Spring AND Fall, AND can be grown all year round in cold boxes and green houses. So it's in season a lot!

Ready to try it out?

Melt a little butter in a pan over medium-low heat. Don't measure the butter- just stick it in there. Olive and coconut oil also work really well for this, but I prefer salted butter because frankly, I like salt.
 The kale that I am using today is the Red Russian variety, which happens to be my favorite. Some kale is much greener than this, with broader leaves. No matter the variety, these steps still apply.
 Chop off the stems. They're edible but they're also really tough, which is a condition not greatly improved by pan-frying it. I give these to the chickens or compost them.
 Cut the leaves into strips, with just a little of the stem left. Uniformity not required.
 Pile as much as you can fit into your pan. Kale will wilt as it cooks (a lot like spinach, but it will retain it's shape a little better than it's green cousin), so a heaping pile of kale in the pan won't be that much on the plate.
 I like to add a few dashes of salt.
 I use a spoon to push the kale down into the pan a bit, toward the heat.

 Then I carefully (so as not to spill my precious green) turn the kale so the stuff on top can get to the bottom to cook. As each leaf cooks it turns bright green, as shown below.
 After it's all turned over I just let it cook for a couple minutes. When it's done, it will look like this:
 Kale can burn if you leave it in the pan too long, but it's really hard to do. In fact, I often pull the pan off the heat once it's finished cooking, leaving the kale in it to crisp up a little while I'm finishing the rest of dinner. Kale left in the pan with butter and salt gets crispy enough that it satisfies my most intense potato chip cravings. ("Kale chips" can also be baked in a low temp oven.)

One note: taste-test a leaf before you take it out of the pan. If it's removed too early, kale will retain a bitter flavor. If it tastes bitter to you, leave it for another minute or two and taste again.

Recap on kale: Really healthy, readily available, great tasting, easy to prepare, good with most everything.

Also, kids will like. 

'Nuff said.

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