Ode to Kale

When I first got kale in my CSA box last winter, I was a little intimidated. Tough, leathery greens, stiff stalks, essence of bitter seaweed, are you sure this is good for me? According to my Whole Foods grocery sack, kale and collards score 1,000, the highest nutritional value you can get from a single food. I don’t normally take health advice from a paper bag, but it is a rather impressive number. My only question was, how could I make it taste good?

I’ve heard of some interesting techniques when it comes to winter greens. Massaging the leaves with salt to make them tender sounds ridiculously intimate and labor intensive. Just the other day I read about brining kale so you can create a wilted salad with a creamy vinagrette, not a bad idea if you are into raw food. (I personally haven’t had a raw kale salad I’ve been able to smile through.) Last winter I made a chard pesto that was divine (recipe here). I’ve also tried roasting kale to make crispy  “kale chips.” Those were actually pretty tasty, but the recipe I used needs finessing to evenly distribute the seasoning, a project for another day.

My favorite method I’ve adapted is quick, it takes about 20 minutes, and is reminiscent of Southern greens. I eat it for breakfast because I’m the kind of weirdo that prefers olives to doughnuts at 7 a.m. Popeye ain’t got nothing on me!

Simple Southern Style Kale

1 bunch kale
½ onion, diced (optional)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup broth or water
2-3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet to medium heat. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until softened and starting to brown.

Remove thick stalks from kale and discard. (You can chop up the stalks and cook these too, but it takes longer to soften them. I’m not usually that patient.) Roughly chop kale and add to the onions.

Sautee for a few minutes stirring frequently until it starts to wilt down.

Add broth or water and cover the pan (I use my pizza pan as a lid since my large skillet didn’t come with one). Cook for about 5-10 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally. 

Turn off the heat and add apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Crispy bacon bits or diced ham and a glass of orange juice make this a complete breakfast.

Ode to Kale

lacy, leathery dragon wings
bitter turned sweet
by heat, vinegar, and salt

Popeye’s no match
for my breakfast Knock Out



Filed under Ingredients, New Recipes, Obsessed with Produce, Techniques

4 responses to “Ode to Kale

  1. kale for breakfast huh? Why not? I grow weary of granola.

  2. Diana

    I love your blog. I also heard how healthy kale is, and tried to make kale chips — very unsuccessfully. I decided I hated kale. Then my vegan niece brought a bag of kale to a family gathering and I helped her (yikes!) make a kale salad. It was wonderful! Here is the basic recipe:
    A bunch of kale
    a ripe avocado
    a fresh lemon or lime
    some salt

    1. wash and dry the kale (oh, and wash your hands really well, too)
    2. tear the kale into fairly large bite sized bits and put pieces in a large bowl
    3. peel the avocado, and chunk it into the bowl too (don’t worry about size of pieces because…) now you get to …
    4. get dirty by squishing the avocado into the leaves (by hand) so that each piece is covered in slimy wonderful avocado
    5. add some lemon or lime juice as well.
    6. add salt to taste (might need a fair bit)

    since I just had my niece’s demonstration to go by, amounts are somewhat unclear. When I made it for myself (which is when I discovered lime works at least as well as lemon) I used one bunch of kale, a whole avocado (which was probably overkill), juice from half a lime, and salt (not measured, just grated in).

    I liked this recipe a lot — and in fact have another batch of kale in my fridge right now, waiting to use up that other half lime.

    Or… I might instead try your breakfast idea 😉

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