I don't think I ever knowingly at kale before I started going to farmers markets. In fact I'm suspicious of anything that goes from unknown to rock star overnight. (There must be a shadow kale PR campaign working overtime to get us to embrace this bitter green, right?) Then two years ago I planted some dwarf kale plants in my kitchen garden. I chose them because I liked the way the curly leaves looked and figured I could use the baby greens in salad. Crazy thing is, these plants are still alive. They're well into their second winter and still growing green leaves despite the relentlessly low temperatures we've been having all winter. This summer I scored week after week of kale from our farm share and augmented it with my superwoman strain of perennial kale. Here are some of our favorite recipes:
MASSAGED KALE SALAD: Take a big bunch kale leaves. Slice them thin and add salt and a bit of olive oil. Massage -- yes, massage -- for 3-4 minutes. They'll break down and become soft and kind of slippery. Then make a vinaigrette with olive oil, lemon juice, and honey. Toss with mango chunks and pepitas. We would eat this every night if I had a kale massager! For pictures and detailed instructions, check out the original source on the Food Network website.
KALE, SAUSAGE AND BLACK BEAN SOUP: Google kale and sausage and you'll find dozens of recipes on line. I've adapted one I found from theKitchn: Sautee a kielbasa or spicy sausage like chorizo. Drain the sausage and cook several small diced potatoes, onions, and garlic until soft. Add chicken broth and a large bunch of curly kale (sliced thin with stems removed). Simmer and then add 4 c of broth, thyme, bay leaf. Cook until kale is completely wilted. Add a can of drained black beans and sausage. I often add chopped up chicken thighs when I'm sautéing the onions. Today I'm going to add some leftover ham. This is a really versatile soup. Definitely tastes better the second day when I toss some new kale in for texture!