I wanted to do a blog post each week featuring different ingredients that are in season. This week is kale!!
Kale has been a part of the 'health' scene for a long time now, many will know what it is. I think it is such a versatile vegetable plus it has more substance to it rather than say spinach. I'm going to do a couple of recipes attached to this blog and different ideas on how to use kale.
Kale is part of the brassica family this is 'cabbage family'. There are many varieties of kale to the most common ones in our country are;
· Curly kale this is the most used one... the curly variety.
· 'Black kale' otherwise known as Cavallo Nero, this is an Italian type.
· Russian red kale - this is the 'baby type' the ones you would find in a salad.
Quick kale ideas;
· stir-fried in oyster sauce
· stir-fried in Garlic, chilli and ginger
· braised kale (recipe below)
· crispy kale
The recipes I'm going to show are;
· crispy kale 'macaroni cheese'
· braised kale in shallots and garlic
· roasted butternut squash, kale and tahini dressing
My top tips for kale are making sure you wash and remove the stalks. If you hold the stalk in one hand and then just pinch the leaves you can strip a whole lot of leaves off the stalk in one go. wash the kale always!
Crispy kale macaroni cheese;
feeds around 4 portions
· curly kale - 200g kale (or a bag from the supermarket, pre prepped, still wash)
· 1 tsp sunflower oil
· mozzarella - 125 g roughly one ball
· parmesan - 125g parmesan
· cheddar/gruyere/smoked cheese - 125g
· flour - 50g
· butter - 50g
milk - 500ml
· salt and pepper - to taste
· leeks - chopped into small pieces
· pasta - (any type will do)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Wash your kale in the sink and place in a bowl once drained. Mix 1 tsp of oil with the kale and a little bit of salt. Place on a tray quite sparsely. Place into the oven for about 10 minutes (check after 10 minutes, it burns very quickly!)
Melt the butter in a saucepan, once melted sweat the leeks in the butter for around 5 mins. Start cooking your pasta by the packet instructions. Once the leeks have sweated down, add in your flour and mix, cook this out for about 5 minutes, start slowly adding in the milk a little by little. It will take a while but you should end up with this silky smooth bechamel sauce. Add all your grated cheeses in and keep aside until your pasta is cooked. Once the pasta is cooked mix this with your pasta and season. Place into bowls and top with the kale crips. Another option is to add some bread crumbs and bake the mac 'n' cheese in the oven for 25 minutes at 200 degrees. I prefer the first method I find it creamier myself. Top both varieties with the kale crisps!
Braised kale in garlic and shallots;
· curly kale - 200g/bag prepped
· garlic - 4 cloves
· shallots - 4shallots
· butter (a decent amount)
· salt and pepper
Start by melting your butter on medium heat, add in the shallots and sweat down for around 5 minutes until the shallots start to go translucent. gently add in the garlic, keep watching the garlic to make sure it doesn't burn. Add in the kale and add in a bit of water (this is about a glass full of water and just gently cook the kale down for around 10 minutes, you will hear a change in the sound the pan makes when it is just the butter its more sizzling, keep an ear out as the kale cooks and the water evaporates you will hear the sizzling again. Taste the kale and check if it's still really fibrous, carry on and add more water.) season with salt and pepper and taste again!
Roasted Butternut squash, kale and tahini salad.
· butternut squash - 1 whole
· curly kale /Cavallo Nero - 1 bag
· red onions - 2
· garlic cloves - peeled - 2
· tahini - 2 tbsp
· lemon juice - 1 tsp
· water - 2 tbsp
· salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
Once your salad is washed, place in a large bowl and toss with a little bit of salt. This will soften the kale and it will release some moisture - just drain this when you come to dressing the salad.
Chop the butternut squash into small pieces, don't worry about peeling the butternut! Place the squash, red onions and garlic into a roasting tray, sprinkle with a little olive oil/sunflower oil, salt and pepper. roast for around 30 minutes (this can be done ahead)
Mix tahini, salt pepper, cayenne, water in a small bowl and mix (this can also be thinned out a bit if it is too thick for you)
Mix everything and then sprinkle with parmesan and the dressing (you can add sesame seeds too if you wish.