Kale is a green leafy vegetable related to wild cabbage…
I have heard about kale and seen it at the local organic market, but it has never really caught my attention. On Saturday, Alvaro from La Misticanza, one of the small local producers that provides ingredients for my kitchen dropped off a sample and encouraged me to experiment with it. Never one to shy away from new ingredients and cooking, I took him up on his offer.
Seeing as I was put on the spot and unable to premeditate what I wanted to do with the kale, I racked my brain and tried to recall anything I had ever read about it. I remembered seeing it used in several different ways but consistently most people rave about kale chips. I had one of my cooks fetch some ingredients from the pantry and we set out to experiment.
I took Alvaro’s advice and tried olive oil and salt, using a lime infused olive oil and sea salt we keep on hand. We rounded up some cajun spice mix we had made for movie tuesday and decided to try that with just regular vegetable oil. Simply put, I tore the kale leaves into pieces, rubbed them down with oil and sprinkled them with seasoning. I set the oven to 375F and baked them for about 4 – 6 minutes.
The results were interesting. I was not fond of the cajun spiced kale chips, they were too bitter. The lime olive oil sea salt ones however were tasty. The crispness the kale gets from being baked after being rubbed in oil is just plain addictive and the flavor is yummy with bitter tones reminiscent of collard greens or brussel sprouts, both vegetables I like.
Even though I like the bitterness in the kale and the crisp texture it got from baking, I am still not quite sold on jumping on the kale train for the long haul. It was just missing something.
Kale is quite good for you, packed full of beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and calcium. In a lot of circles it is considered a superfood (although that term is used loosely nowadays as a marketing ploy). Most kale lovers insist that you just have to know which kale to choose and how to cook it, which lead me to research it a bit more after the impromptu culinary exercise.
Interestingly enough I learned that apparently if you freeze kale and then cook it, it will actually taste sweeter and more flavorful. Noted. We still have kale in the Costa Rica Beer Factory kitchen so perhaps I will try a second round of kale experiments.
Either way it was fun being pushed to use something different and having no real clue what to do. Forgive the photo quality, due to lack of preparation one of my cooks loaned me his Iphone.
Happy Edge Growing ya’ll!