Friday, 23 January 2015

Kale...Queen among greens

"If the vegetable kingdom had supermodels, the girl of the moment would be Kale ". I am pleased to see this amazing green finally getting some recognition as I have always loved Kale. It is good for you and it's delicious, in fact it is trending as Thee Super food of the moment, from Kale Chips to detoxifying Kale juices, hence it came as no surprise that this super green is rapidly gaining in popularity and is being recognised for it's exceptional health benefits and flavour.
Belonging to the Brassica family( cabbage, broccoli,Brussels sprouts) with plain or curly leaves, ranging in colour from green,dark green to purplish red( Leaf & Spear, Curly kale, Cavolo Nero,Rape kale). It is rich in antioxidant, vitamins A,C &K as well as Calcium and is known to lower cholesterol.

In Ireland, we are mostly familiar with kale when mixed with mashed potatoes to make the traditional Colcannon. In Italy, Cavolo Nero is used in the Tuscan soup Ribollita,In China commonly used in stir-fry with beef or poultry,found in Portugal in Caldo Verde Soup and a firm favourite at Christmas with the festive ham in Scandinavia.
Kale is extremely versatile and makes a tasty addition to Soups, Casseroles or simply sautéed and even raw in a salad.
Look for firm, deeply coloured leaves and hardy stems. Smaller leaves will be more tender and milder in flavour hence ideals for raw salads. It is delicious when braised with smoked sausage or bacon.Very thinly sliced in a salad with pomegranate seeds, pear, avocado & nuts. Sautéed with olive oil, lemon and sumac, baked into a flan with nutmeg or herbs or blitz into a sauce to coat Farfalle or Conchiglie pasta.
 Remove limp, damaged leaves and thick coarse ribs and store kale unwashed,in a plastic bag in the fridge but it also freezes really well.

Here are a few easy ways in working this super green into your diet

Gratin of Kale with a potato rosti base

                                                                                                                                                              300 grms of Kale , blanched
150 ml of milk
450 ml of double cream
2 garlic cloves
Sprig of thyme
4 eggs
Grated nutmeg
Salt & pepper

For the potato rosti base :

4 large rooster potatoes grated
2 tbsp of potato flour
1 egg , lightly beaten
Pinch of salt
Wash and peel the potatoes, Keep in cold water to prevent discolouration. Place in a clean tea towel, twist and squeeze out all the excess water. Add in the egg, potato flour and salt.Heat 1 tsp of oil in a non stick frying pan, throw in the grated potatoes and flatten out into a pancake  to cover the base and sides of the pan. Cook until golden, place a large plate over the pan  and flip over the rosti. Cook the other side to a golden colour as well.
Place the rosti in a large buttered flan dish. This is now your base for the Gratin.
In a large pan of salted boiling water, blanch the kale for 2-3 mins. Drain and refresh in cold water. Cut out the middle stalk and chop finely.In a saucepan, bring the milk, cream, garlic and thyme to the boil. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
Add the eggs, salt, blk pepper and nutmeg to taste. Mix in the shredded kale, pour into the flan dish and bake in a pre- heated oven at 150 c for 20-30 mins until just set.

  • This is a gluten free recipe and ideal for celioac.
  • Substitute the kale for any other filling you prefer such as broccoli, spinach, cherry tomatoes,cauliflower, asparagus,leeks etc.....

Raw Kale Salad
This is a very tasty salad from Dorcas Barry, which she prepared when we did a demo a while back.

1bag of Kale

Coarse sea salt

Juice of ½ a lemon

Small handful of toasted pine nuts/ cashews/ peanuts etc...

Pomegranate seeds / cranberries/ apricots/ raisins etc...

2 stick of celery  & spring onion Chopped

Olive oil

Wash and pat dry the kale leaves. Remove the centre stalk.

Stack up the leaves and chopped very finely, place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt.

Using your hands, massage the kale, lemon juice and salt until it starts to wilt, Add the remaining ingredients and mix .

  • This salad will last for up to 3 days in the fridge
  • Add diced up Feta Cheese for a light lunch suggestion
  • Substitute the Kale for Spinach or Chinese cabbage

Fragrant Duck, Kale & lemon grass stir-fry

2 duck breasts
200 grms of shredded kale
1 stalk of lemon grass , finely chopped
thumb of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, de-seeded and sliced
2 tbsp of sesame oil
2 tbsp of light soy sauce

 Place the duck breast in a cold frying pan skin side down over medium heat , As it heats up the fat will render away. Once the skin is golden and crisp, remove and set aside. In a small bowl , mix the sesame oil & soy sauce and drizzle the mixture over the duck breast and leave to marinate.
When cooled, slice the duck into strips on the diagonal and reserve the marinade.
Drain most of the fat from your frying pan and heat up the pan until almost smoking.Return the sliced duck to the pan and stir fry until the flesh is cooked thru, add in the ginger, garlic, peppers & kale. Toss until the kale starts to wilt. Add back the marinade and mix to coat thru.
Serve with steamed rice.
  • Use Chicken,beef, prawns or tofu instead of the Duck
  • Use tender stem broccoli, shredded Savoy Cabbage as an alternative to Kale

Warm Salad of Kale, chick peas with Sumac

1 tin of chick peas , drained
500 grms of Kale, chopped
1 onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
Lemon juice to taste
11/2 tsp of sumac
3 tbsp of chopped mint
2 garlic cloves
¼ tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of sugar
2tbsp of olive oil

Heat the oil in a frying pan,add the onion and cook over low heat until translucent.Add the tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon, garlic and shredded kale. 
Toss until the kale starts to wilt. Add in the mint, lemon juice and sumac. 
Serve immediately.

  • You can replace the  chick peas with other grains such as black lentils or cannelini beans
  • Add diced bacon /chorizo or boiled eggs for a more substantial salad and serve as a light lunch

Kale Flu shot
I saw  this in a magazine, a flu shot using Kale from Stacie Allred.
I gave it a try but  added 2 tbsp of Agave Syrup & a thumb of fresh ginger to improve the taste for my palette.
 Why not give it a try and let me know how you get on or share your version with us.

Tagged: robert jacob-kale-gratin-salad-duck-dorcas barry-flu shots-detox

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