Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Enemy Kale

I've been trying, one by one, things I hated as a child. I haven't yet summoned the nerve to try rutabaga but last week I did purchase kale again.

When I was young, my mother fixed kale every once in a while, probably in the fall when it is at its best. Hers was a curly kind, strong and darkly green; we kids were reasonably bratty whenever she served it. She was one of those mothers who insist that one clean one's plate before dessert - we choked it down but not without making faces and mutterings under the breath. Once I was married and out of her house, I vowed never to subject myself to kale again. Just goes to show you - never say never.

This kale was of the lacinato variety, still darkly green but with pointed, flattish leaves on stiff white ribs as one might expect from the name. I decided to cook it much as we do Swiss chard, coarsely chopped and butter-steamed with garlic chips, and to serve it along side chicken roasted with potatoes and shallots. It took longer to relax than chard does - rather like my mother, kale is made of sterner stuff. When it finally slumped to the bottom of the pan, we sat down to a surprisingly nutty, chewy green, not at all the leathery, curly mouthful of my memory. I liked the combination of spartan, slightly bitter green with the richness of the roast chicken and shallots.

I'm sending a mental apology once again to Mom up there in heaven. It takes a little getting used to, but kale is not the enemy.



Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Good for you, Plucky! Your mom probably just wasn't cooking it long enough.
We just made a pot of collard greens (hours!) with their iron-enriched pot likker, served over rice. That stuff might almost fix a broken heart.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009  
Blogger namastenancy said...

I make kale the southern way (like cookiecrumb) - simmer for hours with ham hocks and lots of peppers and serve with corn bread. If you are feeling really adventurous, serve a nice slice of ham with red eye gravy on the side. OR - puree cooked kale and serve in a souffle. I even like it lightly steamed along with other greens and served with a spicy mustardy vinegar dressing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, collards are next! I was eyeing them in the market but literally have never tried them so I thought I'd research them on the internet first. Now I don't have to since you and Nancy have given me ideas!

(Sorry your heart is still broken. He was such a lovely little guy.)

Nancy, ham hocks, hmmm. This long cooking explains why my mother rarely served "greens." She liked quick things, usually frozen veggies that took less than 10 minutes to cook. No wonder her kale was muscular!

Thursday, October 01, 2009  

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