I (finally) tried it: Kale

by Camille on August 2, 2009

photo of kale

Confession: I’ve written about kale and all of its magical health properties no fewer than four times in the past year and a half (here’s one SELF story where I mention it).

But I haven’t, ahem, actually attempted to eat it. I love spinach–I have it in my scrambled eggs most mornings–and rationalized that I was already getting a healthy dose of dark leafy greens. And there was that pesky rumor that kale was difficult to make edible.

A conversation with Dave Grotto, R.D., author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life, made me decide to give kale a chance. The secret to making kale tasty, Dave told me, was to cook it for a good long while.

So on a trip to Fairway–my local grocery store–I picked up a huge bunch of deep green and purple organic kale greens (about $2.50). When I got home, I threw a tiny bit of chopped up prosciutto in a pan along with a healthy dose of canola cooking spray, and after that had browned, I tossed in thin strips of Kale and sautéed it for about seven minutes. When it was done, I sprinkled it with a little salt and a smattering of pine nuts and served it with a lean steak for dinner.

My fourteen-month-old daughter declared it delicious. Meanwhile, my husband and I weren’t sure if we were in love with its sharp, decidedly green taste.

The next day, the weirdest thing happened: I got a craving for kale. It was like my body knew that the stuff was too darn good not to eat. So, scratching my head, I cooked the greens I hadn’t used the day before, this time omitting the prosciutto, and ate an entire plate of it (setting me back about 80 calories; one cooked cup contains 39). I’ve had it twice since then can easily see it becoming a staple in my diet.

-Camille

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April August 10, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Camille, I eat a lot of kale. A. Lot. When summer comes and our CSA share starts including copious amounts of it, I cook it up. It’s not my absolutely favorite veggie, but you’re right that your body tells you, “more, more!” I often sautée it with olive oil and garlic and some salt (which chemically cuts the perception of bitterness a bit).

Recently I felt like I was all done on kale ideas. I couldn’t bear another sautée…even if I used it as a filling to a wonderful tart with a salty cheese dotting the top. So I made baked kale chips with hefty doses of smokey paprika and ginger. Delightful, uses very little oil, and declared by my 3-year-old to be magic. I suppose with those healthy properties, it *is* magic.
(check it out if you’d like: http://bit.ly/kfmnb)

Jean Tang August 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Kale leaves are really tough. I add it to my juicer (yes, a great remover of fiber, but SO EASY and delicious!!), which manages to extract an impressive amount of juice from a pound of kale, and dump all those beautiful vitamins into my usual apple-ginger-carrot juice. AND it’s yum…

Here’s another idea: chop your strips in thirds and plop in fried rice, along with those eggs, scallions, and ham (yes ham!)

Claire August 19, 2009 at 3:24 pm

you know whats also really good is kale or collard greens sauteed with onions, any white beans, sausage (I like it with sliced kilbasa) and a small ammount of BBQ sauce to cut the bitterness.

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