Several people have asked for recipes for all the kale we’re getting. I don’t have any new ones–but I’ve collected the kale recipes that have appeared in recent weeks. I’m also including one of my all-time favorite recipes in this week’s post: a focaccia that is incredibly easy, fast, and versatile.
STORING GREENS: Pick off any yellowed leaves; store in plastic bags, punched with holes in the crisper
PRESERVING GREENS: Chop roughly, blanch quickly, squeeze out as much water as possibly. Store in ziplock plastic bags. If you separate them into portion-size bags, they’ll be easier to deal with. Pound the bags to get out all the air and water—they can be pounded almost flat and take up very little room
COOKING GREENS: Remove the tough ribs and ends, chop them roughly. Then:
–Steam by placing them in a steamer basket over boiling water; cover and steam for 2-3 minutes.
–Stir-fry by stirring them in hot oil or butter for a few minutes. Stir-fry garlic and chopped onion in the oil before adding the greens.
–Braise by stir-frying them as above for just a minute; then add stock (beef, chicken, vegetable) and let them simmer for 15-20 minutes until very soft
Add herbs, spices, beans, olive, nuts, meats—you can turn your greens into a full meal.
VEGETARIAN KALE AND WHITE BEAN SOUP
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
4 large garlic cloves , roughly chopped
1 box low-sodium vegetable broth
4 cups packed chopped kale
1 can Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 can no-salt-added cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
1 can sliced carrots , drained, or two large carrots, peeled and sliced
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes longer. Add broth, kale and tomatoes (and fresh carrots, if using) and cover. Cook 5 minutes or until kale is tender. Add beans and canned carrots and heat thoroughly. Serve hot.
KALE AND BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD
From the Food network—can also be made with bok choy
3 cups Brussels sprouts
1 large bunch Tuscan kale, center stems discarded
1 small clove garlic
1 small shallot
1 cup finely grated pecorino
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 lemons, zested and juiced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a food processor fitted with a slicing blade, shred the Brussels sprouts. Next, shred the kale. Add the garlic and shallot and shred. (Alternatively, shred and mince the vegetables with a knife.) Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the pecorino, olive oil, pine nuts, mustard, lemon zest and juice and salt and pepper to taste. Add in the shredded vegetables and toss well to combine. Let the salad sit for 10 minutes before serving to allow the dressing to permeate the greens.
Recipe courtesy of Nancy Fuller
When I joined CSA nineteen years ago, I had never tasted kale. When I did taste it, I didn’t like it—it was bitter, tough, and overpowered any ingredients I cooked with it. And it seemed that other members had the same reaction—there were piles of kale left every time we got it. Of course a few members loved it—but it took about ten years for kale to reach the favorite status it now holds, not only in our CSA but all over the USA. Kale is now grabbed and savored by most of us.
Which is a good thing, because it’s one of the most nutritious and versatile vegetables around. According to Wikipedia:
Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, and vitamin C, and is rich in calcium. Kale is a source of two carotenoids (beta-carotene is also a carotenoid), lutein and zeaxanthin. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane (particularly when chopped or minced), a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties.
Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane; however, steaming, microwaving, or stir frying does not result in significant loss. Along with other brassica vegetables, kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells. Kale has been found to contain a group of resins known as bile acid sequestrants, which have been shown to lower cholesterol and decrease absorption of dietary fat. Steaming significantly increases these bile acid binding properties.
Since I joined the legions of kale devotees, I have found dozens of ways to use it that minimize its toughness and bitterness; it’s now one of my staples, something I eat almost every week. Deb Kavakos has told me that the kale crops—they grow several kinds—are doing well and we’ll get kale several more times this season. So, in celebration of National Kale Day (which occurs on the first Wednesday of every October, but we’re jumping the gun) here are some super ways to use kale.
I’ve heard talk of massaging kale but I didn’t know how to do it until recently. I had tried to get personal with each leaf; it was taking forever and the few seconds I worked on each leaf didn’t make much difference. Then I found a youtube video (below) that showed me how to do it—chop up a big bowl of kale, then stick your hands in it and work the whole bowl at once; after about two or three minutes, the kale gives up and turns into something softer and silkier; raw kale becomes delicious and a great base for salads. The technique illustrated in the video below uses salt, which makes the process easier—but it can be done without the salt.
MASSAGED KALE SALAD WITH APPLES AND CHEESE
from Jennifer Adler M.S., C.N. Jennifer likes to make a bunch of this salad at once to ensure that she have dark leafy greens ready when busy days are ahead. It tastes better as the days go by.
1 large bunch kale
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted (I substituted pecans)
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/3 cup currants (I omitted)
3/4 cup diced apple, (½ apple)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar (I substituted balsamic)
1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (I substituted feta)
Be sure to choose a large bunch of kale (or two small ones) or the salad will be overly salty and over-dressed. By large, I mean 16-20 leaves that are at least 12? long.
De-stem kale by pulling leaf away from the stem. Wash leaves. Spin or pat dry.
Stack leaves, rollup and cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade).
Put kale in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, massage salt into kale with your hands for 2 whole minutes. The volume of the kale should reduce by about 1/3.
To toast seeds, put in a dry skillet over low to medium heat and stir constantly for a few minutes until they change color and give off a nutty aroma.
Put kale in a fresh bowl and discard any leftover liquid. Stir onion, currants, apple and toasted seeds into kale.
Dress with oil and vinegar and toss. Taste for salt and vinegar, adding more if necessary. When at desired flavor, toss in cheese.
MASSAGED KALE SALAD WITH MANGO
1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 teaspoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
Small handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons
In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.
Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas. Toss and serve.
Recipe courtesy of Aarti Sequeira, 2010
Here’s another recipe that I tried unsuccessfully many times; I was trying to do it quickly in a very hot oven, but it turned into a pile of ashes. But I followed the instructions in this Melissa Clark video (I can’t stand her voice, but her instructions are very clear)—chop into bite-sized, toss with a very little bit of olive oil, and bake slowly in a 300 degree oven for 15-20 minutes; worked like a charm. The trick is drying the kale completely.
Here’s the video
To be honest—when I first heard the term “kale smoothie,” I got a little queasy. It sounded like a punishment or a treatment—like cod liver oil or barium enemas. But these are really good—just sweet enough, spicy and tasty and filling enough to serve as a complete breakfast.
2 cups of chopped kale
1 cup of plain yogurt
1 teaspoon honey, more or less to taste
1 teaspoon grated ginger, more or less to taste
½ teaspoon hot pepper, more or less to taste
½ large mango, chopped
Put everything into a blender and whirl until it’s smooth. Adjust seasonings. Serve cold.
BRAISED KALE CROSTINI
This is the first kale recipe I tried that I really liked. This version is from Epicurious. I sometimes add a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese at the end. You can use water instead of stock, but the stock adds flavor; I use the richest stock I have.
12 1/2-inch-thick Italian bread slices (each slice about 2×3 inches)
8 tablespoons olive oil
5 large garlic cloves, 1 halved and 4 minced
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 pound kale, thick ribs and stems cut away, leaves sliced
3 1/2 cups canned chicken or vegetable stock
Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush bread slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil; arrange bread on baking sheet. Bake until beginning to color, about 6 minutes. Rub toasts with halved garlic.
Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and dried red pepper and stir 30 seconds. Add kale and broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Uncover and continue to simmer until kale is tender and broth has evaporated, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top toasts with kale. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and serve.
SIMPLE KALE & POTATO SOUP
Serves 1 generously or 2 modestly
1 medium (8 ounce) yellow or russet potato, scrubbed clean and chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock, or water
1/2 bunch kale (6 to 8 big leaves), preferably dino, lacinato, or Tuscan
1 teaspoon lemon juice or cider vinegar
1 to 2 large eggs, depending on your appetite
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese, extra-virgin olive oil, or yogurt, to serve
Combine the chopped potato, garlic, salt, and stock (or water) in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer.
While the potatoes start to cook, chop the kale. Remove any thick, tough stems and chop them into small pieces. Add the chopped stems to the pot with the potatoes and simmer for 2 minutes.
Stack the leaves of kale on top of each other. Slice them crosswise into thin ribbons, and add them to the pot with the potatoes and kale stems. If necessary, add more stock or water to the pot to just about cover the kale.
Cover the pot and let the soup cook for 8 to 10 minutes. The soup is ready when the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork, and when a ribbon of kale has become tender, but has not yet become stringy or pulpy. Stir in the lemon juice or vinegar. Taste and season with more salt and fresh cracked pepper. Also add more stock or water if a more brothy soup is desired.
To finish, crack the eggs into measuring cups, and then gently slide them into the soup. Ladle some of the soup broth on top of the eggs to submerge them. Put the lid back on the pot and cook for 4 minutes. When done, the whites of the eggs should be opaque, but the yolk should still be soft. If the eggs break into the soup before they are poached, just use a fork to swirl them into the soup, like egg drop soup.
Carefully spoon the eggs into a soup bowl. Ladle the soup on top. Finish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, or a spoonful of yogurt.
If you have extra time, enrich your soup by sautéing some chopped onions, celery, or carrots before adding the potato and broth, or by adding cooked bacon or sausage. You can also flavor your soup with a few sprigs of fresh oregano or thyme.
Serving More Than One: This soup can, of course, be multiplied to serve several people. If poaching more than three eggs, I recommend poaching them in a separate pot before adding them to individual bowls.
CRISPY BAKED KALE WITH GRUYÈRE CHEESE
From Chef Sam Hayward
Chef Sam Hayward usually tops these lush onion-sweetened greens with an excellent aged raw-milk cheese from Vermont called Tarentaise. He says Gruyère or any other Alpine-style cheese is a great substitute but if you want to try Tarentaise you can order it from thistlehillfarm.com.
One 4-ounce piece of sourdough bread, crusts removed, bread torn into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, minced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds kale, large stems discarded, leaves chopped
1 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 cups shredded Tarentaise or Gruyè cheese (3 1/2 ounces)
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Let the croutons cool on the baking sheet.
In a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add the shallot, onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 7 minutes. Add the kale, cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the kale to an 8-by-10-inch glass baking dish. Scatter the cheese over the kale and top with the croutons. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and the croutons are golden. Let stand for 5 minutes, then serve.
The recipe can be made through Step 2. Store the croutons in an airtight container and the kale in the refrigerator overnight.
BRAISED KALE WITH CARMELIZED ONIONS, WALNUTS, AND BLEU CHEESE
2 bunches Lacinato kale (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated on microplane
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock or water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
3/4 cup walnut halves, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Wash kale and shake to remove excess water, leaving some water clinging to leaves. Strip leaves from stems and discard stems. Cut leaves crosswise into bite-sized pieces.
In large Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add stock and vinegar and raise heat to high. Begin adding kale by the handful, pausing to let it wilt as necessary, until all the kale is in the pot. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until kale is very tender, about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, in medium skillet, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions along with pinch salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and reduced to half their original volume, about 20 minutes. Add chopped walnuts and cook 5 minutes more.
Stir onions, walnuts and blue cheese into kale. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
This is one of those Eureka recipes. Simple, fast, versatile, delicious. There’s no salt in the dough, which is why it rises so quickly. It’s finished in about an hour, start to ready-to-eat with only about 15 minutes of active prep time.
It’s fine plain—but toppings turn it into a delicious full meal. Try it with ratatouille; braised greens; anchovies and cheese; olives and capers; carmelized onions. The topping should be warm or hot when spread; After spreading the topping, you can put it back into a warm oven for a few minutes. I sometimes split the focaccia horizontally and use it for sandwiches, such as egg salad with thinly sliced radish or broiled zucchini, eggplant, pepper, and onion. Focaccia is fine cold and day-old—but not as amazing as it is straight from the oven.
I found this recipe of Allrecipes, just sitting there among all the other recipes that are not as fantastic.
1 tsp white sugar
1 pkg (.25 ounce, 2 ¼ tsp) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups flour
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1. In a small bowl, dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture with flour; stir well to combine. Stir in additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until all of the flour is absorbed. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly for about 1 minute.
3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (245 degrees C).
5. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface; knead briefly. Pat or roll the dough into a sheet and place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Brush the dough with oil and sprinkle with salt.
6. Bake focaccia in preheated oven for 10 to 20 minutes, depending on desired crispness. If you like it moist and fluffy, then you’ll have to wait just about 10 minutes. If you like it crunchier and darker in the outside, you may have to wait 20 minutes.