Savory Kale

Source: Simply in Season
Serves: 2 – 4 as a side dish

I am currently obsessed with kale. Before last Sunday, November 8, I had never eaten kale in my life. And now? I’ve cooked and eaten it four times in one week. Because it is awesome. It tastes kind of like a cross between spinach and romaine lettuce, but with a piquant bite to it. It’s earthy, green, and dry. Smooth and sharp at once. It’s what they would serve as the pièce de résistance at banquets for rabbit royalty.

Molly Wizenberg piqued my curiosity about this unruly leafy green with a delightful essay she wrote for the October issue of Bon Appetit. She references her own fear of kale and then describes a friend coming to visit, bringing a bunch of kale, and cooking it with olive oil, butter, and squeeze of lemon. I was intrigued.

I found a recipe for kale in my Simply in Season cookbook, and I gave it a shot. And you know what? I now have it memorized, because I’ve made it so much. I mean, it’s not that hard to memorize, as you will see, but still… I have a recipe for kale committed to memory. If I ever lose all of my cookbooks along with access to the internet (in the apocalypse), I will still be able to make this kale side dish. And if I am dedicated enough to this leafy green to want to make it after the apocalypse, you know it’s gotta be good.

Ingredients:
One large bunch of kale
1/2 an onion, very thinly sliced into rings*
1 – 2 T. olive oil
1 T. tomato paste, stirred together with 1 – 2 T. water
Additional water for steaming

*The original recipe calls for a whole onion. I haven’t tried it that way. But if you’re a fan of crispy-sweet fried onions, go ahead and increase the amount.

Wash and dry the kale. Snap off exposed stems. Stack leaves together and roll into a large cylinder, then slice across in 1/4-inch cuts. Pull out any obvious stems. Set sliced kale aside.

Heat olive oil in a large frypan. Saute onions in pan until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Be careful not to burn the slices – it’s a fine line between crispy-and-brown and crispy-and-carcinogenic, I’ve discovered. Spoon onions into a bowl and set aside.

Add kale all at once to frypan. It will crackle like spitfire. Saute kale, turning over leaves with spatula, for 1 minute, or until slightly wilted. Add a few tablespoonfuls of water to pan, reduce heat, and cover. Kale will take 10 – 15 minutes to become tender. Remove kale from pan, drain in colander, and set aside. (It may not need draining if you’ve steamed off all the water. But still, set it aside.)

Add onions back to pan and stir until heated. Stir tomato paste mixture into onions, adding more water if needed. (It shouldn’t be gummy.) Return kale to pan, stir together with onions and tomato paste, and heat through.

Serve. Swoon. Over kale.

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6 responses to “Savory Kale

  1. So, er, what does it taste like?

  2. That is a good question, Chris. I have edited the post to include that information, and here it is as well: it’s kind of a cross between spinach and romaine lettuce, but with a piquant bite to it. It’s earthy, green, and dry. Smooth and sharp at once. It’s what they would serve as the pièce de résistance at banquets for rabbit royalty.

  3. I love kale. And chard. And broccoli rabbini (or rabe).

  4. I’ve never tried it with tomato paste. I usually use balsamic vinegar. I give it a try!

  5. Ooh, balsamic vinegar is a good idea. I have some white balsamic vinegar that I haven’t found a use for yet, so I think I know what I’ll be doing with my next batch of kale…

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