Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hot Kale Salad with Balsamic & Hot Chili Oil

Bowl of Kale
Delicious and Nutritious Kale

Recipe Inspired by Live Earth Farm

Another recipe inspired by Debbie, LEF’s CSA coordinator and kitchen wizard. Most likely I created it when we wanted to make her original recipe but were out of lemon and parmesan. We substituted balsamic vinegar and a touch of hot oil. Debbie tried our recipe and didn’t have hot oil, so substituted hot chili sauce, and reported delicious results! Feel free to come up with variations of your own, and post them as a comment if you create something you like!

Kale Boiling in the Pot
Cooking the Kal
The tastiness of this recipe is affected by the quality of your balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and hot chili oil. This recipe doesn’t use much of these, so it’s worthwhile to buy some of the good stuff to have on hand.

Debbie uses her original recipe for various cooking greens: collards, chard, kohlrabi tops, etc. Keep in mind that different greens have different cooking times, even among the kale varieties. And even within the same kale species, younger kale requires less cooking time than older kale. Feel free to experiment with different done-nesses to see which you like best.

Cooked Kale with Bottles of Balsamic, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, and Hot Chili Oil
Ready to Dress
Hot Kale Salad
serves 3 - 4

large bunch of kale
1 ½ qts. water, approximately
3 tbsp. sea salt, approximately
1 – 2 tbsp. wood-aged balsamic vinegar
1 ½ tsp. flavorful olive oil
½ tsp. or more high-quality hot chili oil
freshly ground pepper

Strip the kale leaves from the stems by holding the stem in one hand and zzzziping off the leaves--faster and easier than cutting them off with a knife. Discard or compost the stems. Don't chop the leaves until after they're cooked.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Salt the water well—so it’s similar to seawater. Add the kale and turn heat down to medium. Poke kale down into the boiling water to submerge it and cook several minutes. We cook old Red Russian kale almost 10 minutes, young Dino kale about 3 – 4 minutes. Debbie cooks hers less, about 1 – 3 minutes, depending on the green. Start with a shorter cooking time and work your way up to the level of done-ness that you like best.

Colander with Kale and Wooden Spoon Pressing Out Water
Squeezing Water Out of the Kale
Drain greens in a strainer, squeezing out excess water with the back of a wooden spoon. Debbie points out: You will discover your large pile of raw greens has shrunk considerably! If needed, pile the cooked greens on a cutting board and chop. Move to serving plate and drizzle first with balsamic, then with olive oil and hot oil, spreading each with the back of a spoon to distribute evenly. Top with a few grinds of fresh black pepper, if desired.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to you, Robin, I just learned about seasoning the kale water with salt! I'll have to try this recipe soon. We try to eat kale regularly, and dressing it up is a requirement.

    James picked up a seasoning tip at New Leaf Market: Add fresh ginger and garlic to cooked kale, plus a bit of sesame oil. Very tasty.