Tuscan Kale, Lacinato Kale or Dinosaur Kale is a beautiful green that is in season right now! If you are lucky enough to have a farmers market still running then you should have lots to choose from in the kale department. Tuscan Kale is a dark green vegetable with curly tough leaves, when cooked the leaves turn into a silky vegetable that loves a bit of acid. We us it in soups and pastas but our favorite way to cook it is to braise it with a bit of bacon and onion. When we teach our students recipes using kale and other tough greens they often say that they have tried to cook them with little success. Because of that we think many people are afraid to cook kale or other greens and that is a real shame, they are so good when done right.
One of the biggest keys to cooking these types of greens is to make sure when they are served they are nice and tender and well seasoned. To start the greens we first remove the stems from the back of the greens
Then bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Add the Kale and cook until just barely tender about 10-12 minutes. Drain the kale, shock it by running cold water over it to stop the cooking. Now you are ready to cook the kale. In a large saute pan heat about 2 tablespoons of oil add your bacon and cook it just until the bacon begins to brown then we add the onions and cook until they just begin to brown. Add the sliced garlic just as the onions are browning and cook until the garlic just begins to brown
We then add the kale some chicken stock, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice and cook until the kale is completely tender and has a silky texture. At this point we add a bit of spice most of the time in the form of red chili flakes or fresh chilies diced. We usually use this dish as a side dish, the night we tested this recipe we roasted Yukon Gold potatoes in a very hot oven with herb sea salt and pan-fried a piece of cod with a cornmeal crust. A little squeeze of lemon over the top and we had a great dinner. Eat this now!
Braised Tuscan Kale
2 bunches Tuscan Kale, stemmed and washed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 slices bacon, diced
1 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
red chili flakes to taste
salt and black pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the kale and cook just until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water to shock and stop the cooking.
Heat a large saute pan with oil until very hot, add the bacon and cook just until it begins to crisp about 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook until they just begin to brown about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic starts to brown about 2 minutes. Add the kale, stock, vinegar, and lemon and cook until the kale was very tender and silky about 10 minutes. Add chilies and season well with salt and pepper. Serve warm