Kale is full of beta carotene, vitamins K and C, calcium and a host of antioxidants I can neither pronounce nor spell. Possibly because of the stronger flavor—it is related to the cabbage family—kale is less popular than other leafy greens such as spinach and Swiss Chard. It also takes a little longer to cook—about 20 minutes to steam.
I planted kale early last spring while the nights were still freezing. We started eating it in May and would have probably had a few more meals from it before winter if some nasty little aphids hadn’t invaded my beautiful leafy green plants.
While taking care of my newest granddaughter and her mama, Cookie, this fall, I discovered a wonderful new way to prepare kale—in a salad. Now, I admit I likely would not have tried this recipe on my own. I saw it in Cookie’s Bon Appetit magazine and thought, This is crazy! The kale will be too tough to chew!
Fortunately, Cookie was on her feet by then and had taken over cooking while I did diaper and clean up duties. Here’s the recipe—the way I make it at home. Cookie followed the original more closely, although she substituted garlic for the shallot.
Wash, stem, and tear the leaves from one bunch of kale. Boil kale 2 minutes. Cool in ice water 1 minute. Drain. Spin dry in salad spinner.
Cook 2 strips of bacon, drain, crumble.
Combine: 1 ½ Tb. wine vinegar, 2 Tb. Minced shallot, ¼ tsp. Dijon mustard. Whisk in 1 Tb. olive oil.
Toss kale with bacon and vinaigrette dressing.
Believe it or not, the kale is tender, the taste is fantastic, and it’s even good the next day. And this method of boiling kale for 2 minutes, then cooling it works really well for adding kale to a stir fry. It is tender without overcooking the other vegetables.
The original recipe calls for adding ½ Tb. of bacon drippings to the vinaigrette and for a lot more bacon. If you’re not afraid of clogging your arteries with cholesterol and poisoning yourself with nitrates, go for it.
Also, I have substituted green onions instead of shallots in the dressing, and Cookie substituted garlic—in a lesser amount. Purists who want the original, explicit directions can try the recipe archive at the Bon Appetit website.