Kale is the vegetable of the moment for health enthusiasts and chefs alike. This leafy vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrients, including Vitamins A, C and K, calcium and a high level of iron. Combine this with its powerful anti-oxidants, high levels of fibre and low calories, and it is little wonder that this leafy green garnish has suddenly become the ‘queen of greens’.
Kale belongs to the cabbage family, and is similar in taste. It is most commonly boiled, but can also be sautéed or used to make ‘kale crisps. At The Merchant Hotel, kale is used throughout our kitchens, but particularly by the chefs at The Cloth Ear. Here are just some of their top tips for adding kale to your vegetable rack.
Kale is very easy to prepare. Simply break the leaves from the stalk and trim away the tough centre stalk. Rinse well, as kale can be gritty if left unwashed; and shred or chop if necessary, but leaves can be left whole if you prefer.
Kale should be kept in a perforated bag in the fridge. However, kale becomes increasingly bitter when stored over a period of days, so should be eaten within two or three days.
Kale is most commonly boiled. With whole leaves, rinse and place straight into the pan and cook for up to 2 minutes until wilted and drain thoroughly. For chopped leaves, place in a pan of water 1cm deep with a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and simmer for up to 5 minutes until wilted, before draining thoroughly.
To make oven roasted kale crisps, strip the leaves from the main stalks and place on a heavy roasting tray. Drizzle the leaves lightly with olive oil and bake at 200°C for 10-15 minutes or until crisp. Mix smoked paprika with a little fine sea salt and sprinkle over the crisps.