Monita is a recipe tester for Food52 and a trusted source on General Cooking.
I like lacinato kale. It's delicious sauteed like spinach; oven roasted and made into chips with olive oil, salt and pepper or finely shredded with swiss chard, chopped almonds or hazelnuts, feta cheese and a vinaigrette to make a salad
I agree Lacinato Kale is sweeter than the Curly Kale which is the most common. It is also known as Dinosaur (Dino) Kale, Tuscan Kale, Italian Kale etc. I rarely see it at large grocers but often find it at Farmer's markets and whole foods. It's distinctive looking so google it to see what it looks like.
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
And in Italy also known as cavalo nero (black cabbage). Actually it has become much easier to find in supermarket chains now. But I feel compelled to add that in Italy they really do like bitter flavors; ciccoria (yum!), rapini etc. I haven't yet figured out the American aversion to anything bitter. It must go back to Plymouth Rock or something, a bunch of English guys in really dumb hats.
Pierino, it is not just Americans that are averse to bitter flavors. they are anathema to Germans as well. I live within 90 minutes of the Italian border and it should be easy to get Italian leafy greens like rapini, ciccoria, etc. It is only the Turkish and Greek green grocers and one innovative local farmer that tend to sell bitter greens, though. The locals simply will not buy them. Instead thet eat cabbage and kohlrabi the whole winter. Depressing!
For Miscarri, kale gets sweeter as the weather gets colder, so even the common kale will taste less bitter after the frost hits. The bitterness in vegetables is actually healthy, so try to find ways to prepare the more bitter kales that will taste good. I,like to fry onions and garlic in olive oil and some bacon, add a some pepperoni, and then the greens. Fry til tender. I have a greens-hating friend who loves greens cooked that way.
Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking
Agree with all the kale discussion. Also that I can't think of too many bitter Plymouth colony recipes, except maybe their beer. But those hats with the buckles? Historically inaccurate.
I don't find kale bitter unless it is old. It is not a good season to buy it in the farmer's market (too hot most places) but in the Fall, you should try to get the tender baby leaves. Delicious! My favorite way of cooking kale is simple and quite sweet. I learned this from Madhur Joffrey.
In about 2-3tbs olive oil, sauté 2 sliced leeks or one yellow onion until it caramelizes. Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and stir 30 secs. The caramelized flavor adds a lot of sweetness. Remove the stems and roughly chop the kale (one large bunch). Add the kale to the pan and pour over one cup of vegetable broth. Here is the secret: use store bought organic veggie broth - it doesn't have sugar, but it is more intense and sweeter than my homemade. Cover the pot and simmer a few minutes until the kale wilts. Stir and add salt.
This is very simple, but the onion or leek and the broth really add a lot of sweetness.
Sometimes I like to serve this over soba noodles with a poached egg or some fried tofu for a full meal.
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