Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring Kale Harvest

A few snips here, a few snips there, and in just a few minutes we have a bowl full of kale, enough to feed four easily.

This is the kale I planted September 20 of last year. The variety is called Red Russian and it survived a balmy December and January, then a bitterly cold February. I could let it go a bit longer, but I need to start replanting this bed. Such is the life of a vegetable: It provides a few months of beauty in the garden at most, only to be cut down in its prime and wind up on someone's dinner plate. It is awfully convenient to be able to walk out the front door and gather dinner--or at least the side dish.

Tonight I am preparing this kale the same way I normally cook Swiss chard. I cut the greens into manageable pieces (about 10 ounces would be enough for four persons), then cook in a large pot of salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. I then strain the greens through a colander, rinse with cold water and press the excess water out of them. Meanwhile, oil the bottom of a heavy skillet with extra-virgin olive oil and heat it over moderately high heat. Add 1/2 red onion cut into thin strips. Reduce the heat and cook the onion until soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Now add the cooked kale to the skillet, mix well with the onions, add another tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

I finish the dish with pomegranate molasses. If you are not familiar with this product, it is usually available in a small bottle at Middle Eastern groceries. It is a thick syrup with a strong flavor of pomegranates and a muscular tang. Use sparingly. I pour 1 or 2 teaspoons into the kale and mix. Serve warm, perhaps with a roasted chicken or grilled lamb.


MA said...

Oh Ed! I am so depressed about your stuffed ham. Damn the ham. I too am in search of a fresh ham for the same undertaking. Waiting to hear back from my local groovy food store. Meanwhile, I could just slurp up that kale concoction you got going on. Man, that looks good!

Mary Ann in BOI

Ed Bruske said...

A fresh ham shouldn't be hard to get, just a matter of ordering one. But the timing just wasn't right for us. We'll be more on top of it next year.

The kale is good, damn good. You could do this treatment to just about any hearty green. The red onion and pomegranate molasses give it a wonderfully earthy sweet-sourness.