Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sauteed Kale

Happy Valentine's Day! :) This post doesn't seem v. romantic. However, what's more loving than caring about someone's health? Kale is super healthy and really delicious. And even though there's lots of garlic in this dish, two garlics cancel each other out so no worries!

Kale, a member of the cabbage family, is one of my favorite vegetables. It's really nutritious (high in vitamin C, beta carotene, vitamin K, lutein, and calcium) and contains sulforaphane which is a compound which has anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and antimicrobial properties.

This is my favorite way to prepare kale:

**NOTE: this cooking method can be applied to swiss chard or mustard greens as well.

Slice the garlic.
This is one leaf of curly kale. The stem is tough and chewy and fibrous and not delicious.
Rinse the kale thoroughly in ice cold water (keeps the leaves crisp and fresh) to get rid of any dirt or sand trapped in the grooves of the leaves. Tear off the leafy bits to separate them from the stem.
Slice some bacon into small strips.
Get a large frying pan hot over medium heat and cook the bacon to render the fat and get it toasted and crispy. Let the bits drain on a paper towel.
Lower the heat and add the garlic to the leftover rendered bacon fat and let it get brown and toasted (but not burned). When the garlic is toasted, add in the crushed red pepper flakes. Give the pan a shake so that the pepper gets coated in oil and can give off its spiciness.
Step 1: Add the kale to the pan.
Step 2: Using tongs, gently toss the kale around the pan to get the leaves coated in fat.
Step 3: The kale should start to lose the frosty chalky complexion and start to take on a rich, vibrant green as it starts to cook.
Step 4: Add in the chicken stock.
Continue tossing the leaves to allow them to cook evenly and get steamed by the evaporating stock. Sprinkle with a little salt and toss until the leaves are wilted but still a fresh green. Overcooking the kale will make it mushy and turn it an unattractive olive army green.
Plate the kale and top with the bacon that was set aside earlier.

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