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A question about a recipe: Suzanne Goin's Slow-Cooked Cavolo Nero (a.k.a. Tuscan Kale)

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I have a question about the recipe "Suzanne Goin's Slow-Cooked Cavolo Nero (a.k.a. Tuscan Kale)" from Genius Recipes. Why blanch first, why not just cut raw kale into pieces, then stir in with water that still clings to the leaves?

asked by cherimich 8 months ago
8 answers 720 views
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Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Creative Director of Food52

added 8 months ago

Blanching softens the kale and helps you get rid of a lot of moisture quickly. I think it would take longer at very low heat to get a similar result starting with raw kale, but I'm sure it wouldn't be bad!

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added 8 months ago

Interesting--my experience has been the opposite, i.e. the added moisture from the blanching takes longer to cook off.

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Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Creative Director of Food52

added 8 months ago

cherimich, see my response to Susan W below—it's all in the squeezing :)

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Maedl

Margie is a trusted home cook immersed in German foodways.

added 8 months ago

Blanching also removes some of the bitter flavors in greens, but I like thise flavors and usually don't blanch the greens.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 8 months ago

I'm confused about how branching would remove moisture. My head is not wrapping around that. I think it does remove some of the strong kale flavor, but so does low and slow cooking. Hmmm...

I would probably follow the recipe as written the first time. They are called "genius recipes" for a reason. Then I'd play with it after that.

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Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Creative Director of Food52

added 8 months ago

I should have been more specific: You should see it when you're done squeezing! Lots of liquid comes out after blanching and squeezing. (Sort of funny picturing trying to do the same with raw kale!)

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added 8 months ago

When you squeeze an entire bunch of blanched kale in your hands, hard, five or six times, to wring the water out, you end up with a tight dark green ball the size of a baseball.

Getting all that liquid out serves a critical role in allowing the onions and garlic to caramelize. If the kale were wet, the onions would steam somewhat, and not dry out as they need to, to get the deeper flavor of slow cooking dry. I suspect that the slow-and-low-cooked onions largely explain why Suzanne Goin can't take this dish off her menu. ;o)

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added 8 months ago

AJ, you are sooo smaht! And due to your articulate explanation, I now completely understand the reasoning behind Suzanne G's recipe. Thx so much, AJ.