Its dark, curled leaves are robust and packed with goodness. No shrinking violet, its slightly peppery taste can take strong flavours – try braising with chilli, garlic and olive oil for a healthy side dish.
Storage & prep
Will keep for about 3 - 4 days
Storage: Delivered from our farm, so wash before cooking. Keep in fridge - has a shorter shelf life than cabbage.
Prep: The leaves can be stripped from the stalks, but for the most part the stalks should be slender enough to cook together. If they snap cleanly it denotes tenderness. If any stalks seem particularly large or tough, just pinch the stalk at the base and pull upwards; the leaves should shear away with
It can be used raw in salads and smoothies, but is most commonly wilted as a simple side, or added to a soup or stew. Steamed, boiled or wilted in a pan, it won’t need much more than a few minutes on the heat. Excessive cooking will result in soggy greens.
Raw: All the rage of late, especially in green smoothies. It can make a simple salad folded with a punchy dressing of buttermilk or yogurt, spiked with garlic, lemon juice, fresh herbs and olive oil. ‘Massaging’ the leaves with a little oil and salt prior to dressing has a tenderizing effect. A pesto of raw kale, nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds would all work), parmesan, garlic and olive oil is great with pasta, dolloped into a stew or onto bruschetta. Just blend everything together or pound it in a pestle.
As a side: Steamed, boiled or wilted in a pan, it won’t need much more than a few mins on the heat. Any excessive cooking will result in soggy greens. A little garlic and squeeze of lemon rarely goes wrong, but it can happily be enriched with a dash of cream and a little parmesan. Its rapid cookability also lends itself to the stir fry treatment; a little chilli, ginger and a shake of the soy bottle make for a swift side plate.
The finishing touch: Kale won’t weep too much water as it wilts, like spinach or chard, so is easy to add to a dish at the end of cooking for a flash of green. Stir into risottos, hearty ribollita-style stews and pasta dishes for the final 3-4 mins of cooking.
Oven-baked kale chips are a super-easy, crisp and salty snack or side – and chockful of vitamin A, C and calcium. These are very adaptable: toss with paprika, cayenne, lemon zest, Parmesan, red wine vinegar etc before baking – though perhaps not all at the same time!
Serves 4 - 10 min
Kale works well with:
Acid – lemon juice and vinegar
Dairy – cream, plus strong, hard cheese
Nuts – chestnuts and hazelnuts
Pork – particularly bacon, chorizo and sausage meat
Raisins, currants and dried apricots