Thursday, February 7, 2013

Hail to the Kale

Thanks to my dad, whose gardening brilliance yielded mounds of it every year when I was young, I'm seriously crazy about kale.  I know it's good for me, but I'm also just a total sucker for nostalgia, and this sweet childhood memory also happens to be delicious.  Win!

Lately, I've been constantly craving the crispy kale recipe I found in the latest -- and greatest, for real -- Barefoot book.  Hi, Ina!

 I wanted to share this recipe, as well as another tasty kale-featuring dish we've tasted and adored this season.

Kale chips are so in right now.  They're widely available to purchase, but popping these warm crisps into your face fresh out of the oven can't be beat.  They're surprisingly and seriously addictive... even for little ones.  Both kids hover when this stuff is around.

This recipe is perfection as is.  But you might thank me for the suggestion for a judicious approach in selecting the company with whom you partake of such leafiness.   You'll want to be comfortable with whoever gets the privilege of first witnessing the inevitable, comedic, green smile that follows this snack.  Consider yourself warned!

Crispy Roasted Kale

2 bunches curly kale (about 2 1/2 lbs)
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fleur de sel

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange 3 oven racks evenly spaced in the oven. 

Lay each kale leaf on a board and, with a small sharp knife, cut out the hard stem.  Tear large leaves in half.  Place the kale in a large bowl of water and wash it well.  Drain the kale and dry it in a salad spinner.  Dry the bowl, and put the kale back in the bowl.

Toss the kale with the olive oil, 1 tsp of kosher salt and 1/2 tsp pepper.  Divide the kale among 3 sheet pans or roast them in batches.   If you put too much kale on one pan, it will steam rather than roast and will never become crisp.  Roast for 15 minutes, until crisp.  Sprinkle with fleur de sel and serve hot.

Butternut Squash Baked Risotto (click here for recipe)

To me, the frosty season seems to beckon a snugly pot of risotto.  Starring energizing kale, this one by my girl Marth is scrumptiously savory with a light sweetness from the butternut squash.  It also happens to be refreshingly simple since it bakes in the oven, vs. the traditional risotto that requires constant stirring.

It's kind of awesome how this pile of kale -

cooks down to this.

A little visit to the oven, and it comes together beautifully.

 We served this with roasted chicken, but it is absolutely hearty enough to play the lead. 

(You may have picked up on the title's subtle reference to the Skins.  This post is hereby dedicated to RGIII and his knee!)


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