Kale is the poster child of healthful eating. Lots of kale eaters get in a bit of a rut, often sticking to sauteeing or juicing kale and not venturing far beyond. But kale can be mellow in a soup or sharp in a salad, crispy as a "chip" or velvety when braised. Find a mixture of easy techniques and tasty recipes for this high-nutrient, flavorful vegetable below and mix up how you're serving kale.
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Blanching kale softens its tough texture and its infamous bitterness. It also sets the green color, allowing you to then further cook it without losing as much green as happens otherwise. A quick dunk in boiling salted water and then a quick drain and rinse in ice-cold water is all it takes. See How to Blanch for more details.
It's worth noting that blanching kale also removes some of its vitamins. That's true, but if the gentler flavor and easier texture help you eat more of it, that's still more vitamins (only some are leached out into the cooking water) than eating no kale at all.
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Braising means to cook something slowly in a bit of liquid. Kale's natural tough texture responds extremely well to long, slow heat in an enclosed environment. It turns tender and soaks up the flavor of whatever else you've put in the pot. Bacon, garlic, chiles, tomato - these are all good braising flavor agents. Try your hand to braise kale with specific recipes like Kale With Onions, Pepper, and Ginger.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
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Cooking kale in a frying pan over medium-high to high heat with a bit of butter or oil is a quick and tasty way to serve it. First, you'll need to clean and chop the kale. Heat a frying pan and add about a tablespoon of butter or oil to the pan
Swirl it around, and add some minced garlic or shallot to your taste.
Add the kale, sprinkle it with sea salt and cook, stirring constantly or at least frequently, until the kale wilts and is tender to eat, somewhere in the 10 to 15-minute range.
See Greens With Green Garlic, adding to the cooking time to account for kale's hearty character.
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Steaming kale is a wonderfully gentle way to handle this tough green. Cut the kale as you want to serve it, set it in a colander or steamer over a pot of boiling shallow water, cover and cook until the kale is tender, 5 to 10 minutes depending on how cooked you want it and how much there is.
Remove the kale, let cool until you can handle it, and squeeze out as much water as you can. Serve steamed kale warm or at room temperature.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
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Kale salads can, indeed, be delicious. For those who like to chew a lot, just treat chopped up kale like lettuce. For those who find raw kale a bit de trop, give the leaves a nice massage first. Grab the leaves by the handful and rub them vigorously to break down some of the fibers making them so tough. See Kale Red Onion Salad for inspiration.