Tuesday, May 29, 2012
It’s the greens time of year
Spring is that time when I’m once again surrounded by greens. I’ve been enjoying fresh salads for weeks, throwing in some arugula, spinach and herbs with my red leaf lettuce. It’s so fresh and sweet, and I can change the taste regularly depending on what I add to the greens, that spring salads can make me happy nearly daily.
Tonight I cooked with some of our first batch of Red Russian Kale. It’s the kind of kale that has grown the best in our garden, flourishing to give us large, hearty leaves and many plants that thrive. Keep in mind that kale is filled with vitamins A, C and K and had multiple other nutritional benefits. It is in the cruciferous vegetable category, along with cabbage and broccoli, which you should eat daily to help prevent cancer. If you didn’t plant any this spring, order seeds now to plant later in the summer for a fall crop.
Here’s my favorite, and easiest, way to prepare a quick, warm kale side dish.
Kale with caramelized onions and toppings
Begin by caramelizing onions 20 – 30 minutes before you want to complete the dish. Caramelizing onions is as simple as slicing them thinly and cooking them on low in a little olive oil, butter (or a little of both) plus a couple sprinkles of salt. Stir now and then, letting them do their thing until they are soft and sweet.
For the kale, begin by taking out the stems. You can chop and cook them as well if you like. To remove the stem easily, fold the leaves forward and pull the stem back and away from the leaves. Chop and soak a short while in cold water.
Warm your favorite oil in a large skillet. I like using cast iron. I typically use olive or sesame. Sprinkle in a little red pepper if you want a touch of spice. Add more if you like lots of spice! Chop a large garlic clove and add.
Squeeze water out of handful of kale leaves. Add kale in layers. Sprinkle with salt. When it wilts a bit, add another layer and sprinkle more salt. I can typically fit three nice layers into my large skillet. Stir as it wilts so everything is cooked evenly. When the kale is finished, turn off the heat. Add caramelized onions and a handful of dried cranberries. Toast seeds or nuts to top. Tonight I toasted sunflower seeds.
Enjoy the goodness!