Kale - Not just a superfood!
Kale, what exactly is that I hear you say? Or how do I use it, cook it, eat it?
So many of us see it on the front of a healthy cook book or used in a green juice but why not incorporate it into your everyday home cooking and boil or fry as confidently as you do your peas.
It's a cabbage-like vegetable and like most leafy greens it's full of goodness. But now’s the time to throw it into your shopping trolley as it's best from mid September through to late February.
It comes in two forms, smooth or curly, the latter being the most common. Deep green in colour and sometimes with a blue or purple tinge.
When it comes to shopping or even picking, choose smaller leaves as these will be the most tender. I usually to trim the leaves off the centre stalk and throw the stalk away as it can be tough. Give the leaves a wash and then shred, tear or chop depending on what your making. It doesn't keep for long, a bit like spinach, and it can become bitter so try and use it before any other tougher greens you might have in the fridge.
Photo courtesy of Vers Les Monts Organic Farm
Kale is most commonly boiled but pan frying works well too and is a nice variant. I put my chopped kale in a pan with about 1cm salted water, pop the lid on and simmer for about 5 minutes until tender, draining away any excess water. Or you can pan fry it with a little oil or butter for about 10 minutes, again until wilted and tender.
My favourite sumptuous winter side dish is pan fried kale with butter and the addition of flecks of crispy bacon. You can't beat it and it works really well with a Sunday Roast, a yummy alternative for the family rather than your usual greens.
The internet is flooded with recipes and ideas, so the world is your oyster but my particular favourite and a slightly unusual one is ‘Kale Pesto’. All you need is kale, pine nuts, parmesan, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice, bung it all in a blender and whizz until almost smooth. I like to leave it a bit chunky, so if you do too just be careful not to blend it for too long.
There is also of course the typical green smoothie that is hugely nutritious and better than a fruit based smoothie as there is no way near as much sugar. My staple ingredients are kale, spinach, mint, parsley, ginger, lime, celery, apple, coconut water and ice. Again whizz in a blender until completely smooth this time and hey presto!
So get out there and grab yourself some of the green stuff. Give it a go and hopefully in the future it will make it onto your weekly shopping list. Enjoy the locally grown crop whether your adding it to a Warm Salad or a Soup, a Frittata or a Stir Fry, or with Pasta or as a side!