I got a bunch of beautiful kale from a local farmer's market last week. When I hear the word "kale," I think of curly alien ears that are so tough, waxy and often used in seafood showcases of a grocery store as garnish.
The kale I bought is called Tuscan Kale Lutes or Lacinato and it looks a lot more friendly to your mouth and stomach. Though I've never used in my cooking nor tasted it until now. Since I had enough to experiment and was curious how it would taste by using it in different dishes, I tried both raw and cooked forms.
First, I tried it in salad, raw. I washed and tore the leaves by hand, added some cooked pearl onions and toasted pinenuts, and then drizzled with a very simple citrus, white wine vinegrette. I liked it a lot even with the tough stems. While I was eating, its taste reminded me of another dark green vegetable. Although I wasn't able to recall what it was right then, I kept guessing at it.
A few days later, I decided to try cooking them in a soup (actually, tried in two kinds of soup and this one was one of them). The idea came from Epicurious. You can find the recipe at their website. Oh, but I added tomatoes in mine, imparting a reddish tint.
After eating the soup and the salad, I finally was able to recall and recognize what vegetable I had been thinking of: chinese broccoli. It's tough, crunchy and has the bitter, dark green veggie taste. Chinese broccoli in oyster & garlic sauce is one of my favorite vegetable dishes. Most people probably wouldn't enjoy the tough, fibrous texture of kale stem, which is usually removed, but I actually had no problem and ate them all!
4 Fresh Kale (Tuscan Kale Lutes/Lacinato) leave
*Optional - remove stems
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
10-15 Pear Onions, peeled
2 Tbsp Pinenuts
1/4 c. EV Olive Oil
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Fresh Orange Juice
1 tsp Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper
Wash kale and drain excess water. Tear each kale leaf into 3-4 pieces. Place them on the serving plate(s).
Heat a skillet over medium, sautee pearl onions with vegetable oil. Stir well while cooking. When they turn slightly brown and softens, add pinenuts and continue stiring & cooking for another 1-2 min. Turn of the heat. Make dressing - mix all ingredients and whisk very well. Add onions and pinenuts to the salad and drizzle some dressing.