Summer calls for Kale!
Unlike other, more tender greens, kale is bold in flavor and texture, and sturdy enough to withstand most cooking methods. It is incredibly high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, making it a go-to for “healthy halo” seekers. The two varieties, curly and flat, can be used almost interchangeably, but there are a few important differences. Curly kale tends to be a little heartier, so if slow cooking or deep frying are your goals, I’d recommend using the curly stuff. Flat kale is lovely shredded into ribbons for raw salads, and it’s stem isn’t as woody as the curly variety, meaning you can cook it as long as it’s not super thick. Both varieties are adaptable, soaking up any flavorful sauce, marinade, or spice rub. Leaving both the stalk and leaf intact, flat kale leaves loves to be dredged in seasoned rice flour and dunked in ice cold tempura batter, deep fried to crispy perfection. Served alongside a simple soy and chili paste sauce, lime wedges, and dusted with salt, this appetizer is sure to please and it is quick and inexpensive to prepare. Creamy kale gratin is a major crowd pleaser and is especially nice fired in individual cast iron pans or ramekins. Marinated in chipotle in adobo and lime juice, kale pan-fried with mushrooms, onion and garlic are an excellent vegetarian taco option. Kale is also perfect for making crispy, crunchy oven-roasted kale chips because the natural curl helps to trap flavors like garlic, soy sauce, chili flakes, and parmesan cheese.
Roasted Garlic Kale Caesar
I adore a Caesar salad, but sometimes all that raw garlic isn’t what I’m after. This version uses the subtle sweetness of roasted garlic to offset the bitterness of the kale and highlight the sweetness of all that glorious cheese. Use Lacinato, or flat kale here because it’s a little more tender than the curly stuff.
Extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, whole
½ tsp crushed red pepper
2 cups of Italian or French bread, cut into bite-sized cubes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 ½ tbs Dijon mustard
2 to 3 anchovy fillets
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce or coconut aminos
1 large bunch of Lacinato kale, tough stems removed, cut into ribbons
1 wedge of parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 375 degree. Toss the garlic cloves, crushed red pepper, and bread cubes in enough olive oil to coat. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper, and pour the contents of the bowl onto it, making sure everything is in one layer. Roast until the bread is crispy.
Remove the bread cubes from the tray, and set aside. Continue roasting the garlic cloves until they are soft and caramelized. Set aside.
In a large salad bowl, use the back of a fork to crush and mash the garlic cloves. Add the lemon zest and juice, Dijon, anchovies, and Worcestershire. Mix until smooth. Trickle ¼ cup olive oil into the bowl while you mix with a whisk. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
Toss the kale and croutons into the bowl and coat with dressing. Use a vegetable peeler to cut ribbons of cheese into the salad. Mix, top with more cheese, and enjoy!