One of the chief takeaways when I read The Amateur Gourmet‘s book was in the section about shopping for groceries. The biggest tip was to buy what looks good to you, especially when it comes to produce. Buy what looks good – it can be seasonal or a bit curious looking or something that you’ve heard about and really want to try. This was the case with our last visit to the store when we saw the array of kale. Inspired by a write-up in a recent issue of Bon Appetit, we bought a bunch and were ready to roll.
What’s kale? In a nutshell it’s a hearty green that rolls around during wintertime. It’s full of vitamins and nutrients, which makes it really good for you. Kale has a flavor that is not like most other greens, so it’s a great change of pace to your cooking routine. Try it in salads, saute it with butter or bacon fat and garlic, or throw it in with pasta. Sometimes kale can be chewy and hearty, just be careful to cut the stems off and slice the leaves into thin strips, especially if you’re making salad – put on a vinaigrette and some Parmesan cheese and you’re done!
You can also make chips out of kale! It’s a really fun and easy way to incorporate healthy food to your plate. The February 2009 issue of Bon Appetit’s feature on kale offered some great recipes, but my favorite was the one for Tuscan Kale chips. Tuscan Kale is a tall flat leaf version of kale that is a rich deep green. To create this recipe, fire the oven up to 250, cut off the stems, toss them into a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and salt & pepper. Lay them flat on to a baking sheet, throw them in the oven until crisp (about 30 minutes) and you’ll have the easiest, tastiest way of getting one of the healthiest vegetables into your diet. Isn’t that easy? The recipe comes to us from Dan Barber of New York’s Blue Hill and it’s definitely a winner.
Give the recipe a shot, you won’t be disappointed. I like to freestyle on the recipe a bit by using Grains of Paradise in lieu of pepper; the floral kick provides a nice counterpoint to the chips. Enjoy kale and go out and eat your greens! The Tuscan Chip recipe is so easy you’ll find yourself doing it often and it’s a good show-off dish for when you have dinner parties.