Sunday, January 31, 2010

Krispy Kale

Today's post comes from my friend and faithful blog reader, Natalie Glaser. As much as I enjoy vegetables, I must admit I was a bit skeptical about this recipe. I was even more skeptical after the first time I made it, and it turned out a slimy, chewy glob of green leaves. Even my husband wouldn't eat it.

But Natalie had raved about this recipe so much, I thought I should probably give it another try. Plus, I still had half a bunch of kale in my fridge! Not one to waste food, I looked around online for a better method of making this dish.

Natalie's method called for sautéing the kale in a very hot skillet (or "flash frying" it, as she calls it--which is a pretty cool name, I think!). I deduced that I did two things wrong the first time I made it: I used too much oil, and I didn't cook it long enough. The first problem I solved by tossing the oil with the kale first--this way I could use whatever amount of oil I wanted, but since it was evenly distributed, the kale would cook evenly. Secondly, I tried using the oven instead of a skillet, which again, caused the kale to cook more evenly.

The oven method worked much better for me. After 10 minutes at 400 degrees, the the kale was bright green, with lightly browned edges. The kale shattered when you bit into it--a vast improvement from the "stewed" version I came up with last time. When you cook kale this way, it has none of the bitter taste you usually associate with kale, and easily takes on the flavor of whatever aromatics you flavor it with (salt, garlic, lemon juice, etc.). And there you have it: a tasty side dish for about 15 cents per serving!

Krispy Kale

Step 1: Select a bunch of kale.
Step 2: Remove white stalks, and tear kale into large pieces.
Step 3: Wash kale and shake off excess water
Step 4: Drizzle kale with olive oil (about 2T for a whole bunch), kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper, and toss to coat evenly.

Now you can chose which way you'd like to cook your kale:

Skillet method: Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat until beginning to smoke. Add kale, and toss very gently. Cook until edges of kale turn very brown (the kale usually comes out more browned with this method, but tastes the same), and kale has a crisp texture. Don't worry if it looks wilted--keep cooking until it is crisp!

Oven method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a sheet pan in the oven while you are heating it. When oven is hot, remove the sheet pan and quickly spread kale evenly over it. Return to oven for 8-10 minutes, until edges are browned and kale is crisp.

Serve your kale immediately, as Natalie says, it's not much good cold! If you'd like to add some more flavors, you can toss your kale with minced garlic before you roast it, or squeeze some fresh lemon juice over it right before serving.

Krispy Kale with quinoa and fried shallots

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