Kale is not sexy; it's not the artichoke or leek of the vegetable world, that's for sure. Kale's thick, almost rubbery leaves are ruffled and chewy as leather, and its bitter taste requires learned appreciation. But we adore its deep green color, as well as the steadfast way it grows nearly all year long. Hardy kale, like the black dinosaur (or lacinato) kale pictured up top will grow right through the snow, and its deep green is so welcome in the dark winter. Here are five ways we like to eat kale.
- Raw, in a salad - Kale doesn't need to be cooked to be enjoyed. If you slice it into very, very fine ribbons it makes a great salad. Its rough texture and slightly bitter taste are the perfect match for lemon and some sharp, salty pecorino. Here's how we do it; this is probably our favorite winter salad! Also try this raw kale and pig cheek salad.
- Cooked and boiled - Kale is a seriously tough green, and while it can be great in raw salads, sometime we like it soft and silky. To get it like that, it's best to boil it (or braise it). If the idea of boiled greens sounds too Dickensian for you, no fear. They're actually decadently delicious, silky and smooth.
- In a soup - Kale's sturdy texture makes it the perfect green to throw into a pot of soup. It doesn't fall apart into moist strings like spinach. Here are a few favorite soups with kale: Easy Kale Soup for One (or Two); Turkey Chili with Kale, and Kale and Apple Soup.
- In pasta - Kale is great with pasta; just like in soups it doesn't wilt too much or lose its toothsome texture when cooked with pasta. We love it with spicy sausage and orecchiette.
- As snack chips! - Yes, you can make better-than-potato-chips-snack-chips out of kale. All you do is throw it a few leaves in the oven with olive oil and salt, and bake! The result is addictively crisp and salty kale chips. You've got to try it!
What's your favorite way to enjoy kale? Tell us! And here's a few more recipes, too.
• Tip: Use Curly Kale for Colorful Retro Garnish
• Recipe Review: Kale and Potato Puree
• Kristopher's Seared Char with Asian Kale
• Recipe: Kale and Potato Gratin
• In Season West Coast: Black Kale
• Recipe: Cavolo Nero Kale