The curly on kale

I have to be honest I knew very little about kale before I settled in to life in Auckland.  Then, as often happens, once I noticed it in shops I saw it everywhere. I spotted articles about it and I heard Mums at school exchanging recipes for it.  One friend even brought me in some of her home made kale chips to try.  And suddenly I was on the kale trail!

So, what to do with it?

Firstly, I find it best if you slightly cook it.  Research suggests you shouldn’t eat too much of it raw anyway, but as I am a foodie rather than a health fanatic, I will let you read about that elsewhere.  My preference is to sauté it lightly before use.  You only need to do this for around one to two minutes as you don’t necessarily want to completely wilt the leaves.  And just bundle it all onto some paper towel and allow it to cool if you are going to toss it into a salad or a wrap.

If you have bigger leaves (that look like silverbeet) then you need to remove the tough stem.  But, I have noticed that there are bags of ‘kale salad leaves’ about for sale (spotted at Nosh Food Market) and these ones you can easily use as they come!

Kale is great in soups.  Just add it in at the last minute to your favourite recipe for minestrone, potato and leek or pea and ham soups.  It’s full of good stuff and will add a totally new dimension to your dish.  You don’t need to steam or blanch it first as it will wilt into your hot stock.

I love to toss it into salads such as a roast vegetable salad, or through a potato or pasta salad.  In this instance, I would cook it off in a frypan with a touch of garlic and oil and then gently fold it through the salad.

You could easily blanch your kale leaves before use. Just boil up the kettle and pour over your prepared leaves.  Tip out the boiling water almost immediately and refresh the leaves in cold water before patting dry to use.  Toss the leaves with your favourite salad dressing and add with some spinach leaves, grated carrot and salty ricotta for a delicious wrap filling.

Use kale wherever you may have used spinach, but don’t let that limit you.  I have found kale is fabulous with lime and coriander – so think guacamole with a twist!!

Asian ingredients are a hit with kale also, so stir it through some fried rice, or add to a coconut based stirfry, or a tomato and chilli sauce.

It is great brightening up omelets or frittatas also!  But, without a doubt, these chips are the winner with my kids!

Kale Chips

  • approx. 1/2 bunch kale leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 150C.
  2. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  3. Remove leaves from the stems of the kale and roughly tear it up into large pieces.
  4. Wash and spin the leaves until thoroughly dry.
  5. Add kale leaves into a large bowl. Massage in the oil until all the nooks and crannies are coated in oil. Now sprinkle on the seasoning and toss to combine.
  6. Spread out the kale onto the prepared baking sheet into a single layer.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for another 12-15 minutes more until the kale begins to firm up.
  8. Cool the kale on the sheet for a few minutes before digging in!

 

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