Much to my boyfriend’s displeasure, I’ve become very into kale.
Kale and I are tight. Recently, it’s replaced spinach, chard, and other leafy greens in our salads, soups, and even omelettes! It’s not that I don’t cook with the other greens anymore, it’s just that I’ve recently learned how good kale can be when it’s prepared properly. Before two months ago, I hadn’t touched kale. I claimed it was because it was too hipster for my liking, but I think the main reason behind my disuse of kale in my dishes was my lack of prep knowledge. I knew it was good for you, but I didn’t understand how something so bitter, dirty, and tough could ever be appetizing. In essence, I was afraid of kale.
Fortunately, I was swayed into trying kale and found that, prepared properly, I loved it! I sought out information (via the internet, other food blogs, and cookbooks) on the best ways to prep and eat kale, and I found some great inspiration. I found that kale isn’t scary, it’s simply a bit of a pain to work with.
I’ve used kale a couple of times here on my blog in my Curried Chicken Soup and my Salted Paprika Kale Chips, so I thought it might be a sound idea to give you a bit of advice on how to prep it. If there are other Kalephobes like me out there, this post is for you. I want you to see how dead simple it is to prep kale, so I’m going to teach you my method, step-by-step. I’m not a professional chef, so I’m not saying this is the correct way to do it or the only way – I use this method because it’s easy and quick. I hope it can help some of you eat more kale, too. Because it’s actually ridiculously good for you!
Here we go!
1. Arrange your kale leaf on a cutting board, stem side up, and flower out the leaves. Make sure you can see the entire stem as it’s crucial for the next step.
2. Using a chef’s knife (or other sharp knife) cut down the stem on each side from the tip to the end. Make sure you stay as close to the stem as possible or you’ll lose most of the kale leaves.
3. Repeat this process with as many other stems as you need for your dish. Additionally, you can use the same method to slice off any thicker stems from the leaves.
4. Pull off any remaining leaves until you have bare stems like these. Discard the stems.
5. Rip the kale leaves into equal sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
6. Cover the kale with cold water and submerge the kale, jiggling it around to loosen any silt or dirt. I usually push down on and massage the kale a few times to achieve this.
7. Allow the kale to sit in the water bath for 3–5 minutes to let the silt sink to the bottom of the bowl.
8. Remove the kale gently from the bowl by grabbing small handfuls. You don’t want to disturb the water too much at this point otherwise the dirt will rustle up again and defeat the purpose of the last step.
9. Using lots of paper towel, or a powerful salad spinner, dry your kale thoroughly before use.
And that’s it! Kale may seem daunting, but it’s actually a very easy vegetable to prepare and eat. If you’re planning to use it as a base for a salad, there’s a good trick I picked up. Pour a little olive oil, or a couple tablespoons of the dressing you’ll be using, on the kale. Using your hands, massage the liquid into the kale until it’s nicely coated, about 2 minutes. Let it sit aside until you’ve prepared the rest of the salad (up to 20 minutes), and by the time you go to finish the salad, your kale will have tenderized into a more edible leaf. It really works to take the harsh edge off of the kale!
So give this a go! I swear you’ll be gobbling up more kale in no time. Just ask my boyfriend.
Do you cook with kale? What’s your favourite way to eat it?