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Kale: What are some good ways to cook kale?

Kale leaves isolated on white background.As fall approaches it is definitely time to take a new look at kale. Kale has become one of the latest cruciferous vegetables to rebrand as a versatile ingredient in almost any recipe you can think of. Also known as borecole, this cousin of cabbage, collards, and Brussels sprouts has always been known as a healthy green vegetable, high in vitamins (A, C, and K), minerals (copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus) and low in calories. While these days it is available year round, it thrives in cooler weather.

In the past, the recipes for cooking kale were pretty similar—cut it in wide crosswise strips and simmer it with a ham bone for an hour or so. These days, chefs hunt for young kale, remove the center rib and cook it briefly with a variety of seasonings until it wilts, then serve it as a bed for meats, a side dish, or a pasta sauce. Even easier, they remove the center vein, massage it in cool water until the color deepens, and serve it as a salad—all delicious ways to enjoy the flavor of this healthy vegetable.

When shopping for kale, any variety is a good choice—look for firm, brightly colored leaves with healthy stems. For salad it is good to select smaller leaves, as they will be more tender and milder in flavor. When you get home, store it un-rinsed, in a zippered bag, in the refrigerator, and use it within several days.

There are several good choices for cooking kale on my web site. Take a look at Spanish-style White Bean Kale and Chorizo Soup, Salt-baked Pesce per due with Braised Greens, and Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Chorizo and Greens.

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