We fell in love with kale this winter. Sturdier than lettuce, more satisfying than spinach, it has become our go-to leafy green (at least until the weather is warm enough to make a cold salad seem appealing).
Kale is wonderfully versatile. For a hearty and warming side dish, steam-saute kale with a bit of oil and stock, and toss with minced garlic in the few seconds before leaving the pan. Chopped raw and dropped into simmering veggie or meat soup, it will hold its shape and add visual appeal. Cooked gently with cream or coconut milk, kale makes an earthy yet luxurious pasta topping.
But for truly addictive flavour and texture, toasted kale wins hands-down.
Preheat oven to 425º (400º if using convection oven). Dump some kale onto a shallow baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to distribute oil (hands work well for this), then spread evenly, leafy edges facing up. (Kale need not be thoroughly coated.) Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
|It's very hard to get a good photo|
of the oil, salt, and pepper....
Bake 7-10 minutes or until leaf edges are charred and crispy. Serve hot and listen to the gluttonous crunching (your own or that of your family). Reflect with complacence that kale is very, very good for you.
Note: For super-crispy and snack-worthy kale, remove the stems, give the leaves plenty of breathing room, and bake a little longer. You can lower the oven temperature if you want crispiness without charring. (Don't forget to save the stems for soup.) To combine thrift with nutrition, and save a little time, keep the stems intact and slightly crowd the pan. This will give a lovely charred/steamed texture as in the photo above.
Some ideas for toppings (should you want to paint the lily): Sesame seeds (before or after toasting), very finely grated parmesan cheese, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne, finely chopped crispy bacon, crumbled blue cheese....
Do you like kale? How do you cook it?
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