I admit I've haven't had enough enthusiasm for the latest super food, kale. It's nutritional qualities are outstanding but I've been a slacker putting it on my grocery list. I'd rather have it in a restaurant or salad bar. It stinks when you cook it and I hate for my kitchen to smell bad. It has that sulphury quality when cooked that I associate with certain bitter greens that need prolonged cooking. It's leaves are tough and fibrous versus the more tender turnip or chard variety that I prefer. Kale salads are tasty enough but they need a lot of makeup ingredients to balance kale's slight bitterness and dense texture. So I solved those issues by making kale pesto. It's my answer to work this nutritious green into my diet more often. The kale is blanched, then chopped finely in a food processor with traditional pesto ingredients. It's quite tasty on pasta and slathered inside a sandwich. I even used it to garnish tonight's dinner of roasted salmon over Provencal ratatouille. I don't won't to miss out on nutrition so, "pesto" change-o. Kale transforms from a tough bitter green to a bright green more sophisticated form with multiple uses.
- 1 bunch of kale, stem removed; leaf part only by running the tip of your knife up either side of the stim until it ends. Then chop across into 2 inch ribbons. You should have 3 ozs of kale leaves.
- 3 peeled garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup Parmesan
- 1/2 cup toasted pin nuts (optional)
- 3/4 cup good olive oil such as Oli & Ve Picual
In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water and 2 tbls Kosher salt to a boil. Prepare a bowl of ice water and set aside. Add the chopped kale leaves to the boiling water and return to a boil. Cook for one minute. Drain the kale into a strainer or remove from the hot water with a strainer and plunge the wilted kale into the ice water bath immediately to stop the cooking. Drain thoroughly after a few minutes in the ice water bath and wrap the kale in a clean linen or cotton dish cloth. Dry the kale as much as possible until the kale is moist but no excess water exists.
Put the kale and garlic in a food processor and pulse 6-8 times. Add the Parmesan and pine nuts, if using. With the processor on, add 3/4 cup olive oil through the feed tube. Add process just until the oil runs through, about 1 minute.
Makes about 1 1/2 cup. Store refrigerated with a little extra olive oil on top to inhibit oxidation.
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