The polarising Kale, and how to get the best from it

Posted by George Oram on

Kale has a somewhat strange existence in the veggie world. Opinions range from LA food gurus claiming it as the all-conquering superfood that’ll fix any number of ailments, to it being the poster boy for the ‘boring’ vegan diet and mocked by the carnivore loud mouths (You’ve probably been to a dinner party with both, I know, what a drag).
In fact, it sits somewhere quite happily in the middle. It is, after all, one of the nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and as such needs some consideration when thinking about how you should be eating. It’s a wonderful source of vitamin C, can help lower cholesterol as well as a source of minerals that we all are almost always deficient of! (Find out more here)
I get it, I get it. It can be a little bitter, a little tough and maybe that’s the reason it only has ardent supporters or staunch critics. But don’t worry! We at Kent Veg Box are here to pull back from that chaos and return to somewhere right in the middle.
We source our kale from Dickie Ovenden, Trevor Bradley and Debbie Bean
Apart from the usual Green and Black Kale we also get Midnight Sun, Emerald Ice and Red Russian. Such great names for a supposed boring veg.
 We love Kale, but we do understand it needs a wee little dressing up. And so, below are some of our favourite recipes from the web and cooking books we have that help us enjoy the bountiful Kent kale around this time of year.
One final tip - Kale makes the most amazing soup.
Nigel Slater: KALE WITH CHORIZO AND ALMONDS (Link here)
Good quality chorizo is not the cheapest of meats, but a little goes a long way. Serves 2 as a light main course, 4 as a side dish.
250g curly kale
250g cooking chorizo
a little groundnut or sunflower oil
50g skinned whole almonds
a clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
Wash the kale thoroughly – the leaves can hold grit in their curls. Put several of the leaves on top of one another and shred them coarsely, discarding the really thick ends of the stalks as you go.
Cut the chorizo into thick slices. Warm a non-stick frying pan over a moderate heat, add the slices of chorizo and fry till the pieces are golden. Lift them out with a draining spoon on to a dish lined with kitchen paper. Discard the oil that has come out of the chorizo and wipe the frying pan clean. Add the almonds and cook for 2 or 3 minutes till pale gold then lift out and add to the chorizo.
Warm the oil in the pan, add the crushed garlic and shredded greens and cook for a couple of minutes, turning the greens over as they cook, till glossy and starting to darken in colour. Return the chorizo and almonds to the pan, add a little salt and continue cooking till all is sizzling, then tip on to hot plates.
BBC Good Food: Spiced Kale Crisps (Link here)
A nice little afternoon snack to tempt you away from the chocolate too early in the day. One of our favourites:
Ingredients
100g chunky chopped kale, or kale leaves, tough stalks removed (weight without stalks)
½ tbsp olive oil
1 heaped tsp ras el hanout
Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2 and line 2 baking trays with baking parchment. Wash the kale and dry thoroughly. Place in a large bowl, tearing any large leaves into smaller pieces. Drizzle over the oil, then massage into the kale. Sprinkle over the ras el hanout and some sea salt, mix well, then tip onto the trays and spread out in a single layer. Bake for 18-22 mins or until crisp but still green, then leave to cool for a few mins.
 
Stir fried kale with tahini, chilli and soy (Link here)
This quick dish is perfect for piling on to a mound of brown rice for a light, easy supper.
Prep 10 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 6
2 tbsp sunflower oil
½ tsp sesame oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
2 red chillies, deseeded and thinly sliced
500g curly kale, stems removed and discarded (500g net weight)
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1½ tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tbsp lime juice
For the sauce
120g tahini paste
1½ tbsp light soy sauce
1½ tsp rice vinegar
1½ tsp mirin (Japanese rice wine)
Whisk all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, add three to five tablespoons of water (the amount you need will depend on the tahini, so add gradually), and whisk until the sauce is thick but pourable, a bit like honey. Set aside.
Now for the stir-fry. Heat both oils in a large saute pan on a high flame, then fry the garlic and chilli for one to two minutes, until the garlic is golden. Lift out the garlic and chilli, and reserve – you’ll be using them to top the finished dish.
Pile as much kale as possible into the hot pan, add the soy and a tablespoon of water, and cook to wilt down. As the greens collapse, add more kale to the pan and cook, stirring regularly, for three to four minutes, until the kale is cooked yet crunchy and there is no liquid left in the pan. Stir through the sesame seeds and lime juice, and take off the heat.
Spoon the greens on to a platter and drizzle the sauce over the top (hold a bit back to serve on the side, if you wish). Scatter the fried garlic and chilli on top, and serve.

 

 

 

 

 


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