In the kale world you’ve got a few different options. There’s curly kale. There’s lacitano (dinosaur) kale. And then there are other variations such as red leaf kale, and so on. Normally, I’m a curly girl all the way. The flavor is mild and the leaves seem to capture just the right amount of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic when you roast it (by far the easiest cooking method when it comes to kale). But this week I grabbed dino kale. Mostly because I had no idea what to do with it and I like a challenge—especially in the kitchen.
Sure, I could roast it. But where’s the fun in that? I wanted to find a new way to cook something I had never made before. However, search after search I landed on this one word that sends shivers down my spine. Braised. There’s something about that word that makes me feel like I need a dozen degrees from the CIA, years of tutelage under Julia Child, and somehow I’d still never get it. I imagine a pork shoulder in a Le Creuset Dutch oven with shallots and a bottle of Bordeaux. So who am I, with my silly journalism degree, standing in my kitchen still sweaty from yoga, to be braising on a Wednesday night? Nobody, that’s who. I don’t even own an apron! I’m just a hungry yogi who wants her kale. So I searched. And I searched. And still, every blogger and cooking site was telling me to braise my effing dino kale. Ugh.
I was nearly ready to abandon the hunt, preheat my oven to 450 and get my roast on when I decided to actually read a recipe for braised kale. You know what? Not so difficult. In fact, I’ve done it before and had no idea I was braising. Fancy, huh? Basically, it involves caramelizing onions (i.e. cooking them on the stove in olive oil slightly longer than normal, but without burning them), dumping in your kale, a little chicken stock, and letting it steam. Not rocket science. No apron required. When braising kale, you can let it, achem, braise (steam, really), for as long as 20 minutes until it gets really wilted. I, however, was famished from my search and the trauma of braising (j/k it was super easy) so I only allowed it to steam for about five minutes. The result? It had a great consistency with just the slightest crunch left in the leaves. I topped my braised kale with oven-roasted salmon and served it alongside roasted cauliflower seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika. Voila:
Braised Kale, Oven-roasted Salmon & Roasted Cauliflower
All recipes serve one hungry yogi with some veggies leftover. Increase accordingly.
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
1 bunch lacitano kale
½-1 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper
To prepare kale, remove ends of stems (you can leave the stem that runs up the leaf – just remove the really tough stem that runs beyond it.) Roll into cigar shape and slice into bite-sized pieces.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add kale, about ½ cup broth, cover and simmer. If the kale has absorbed all of the liquid in just a few minutes and it’s not completely wilted, add a little more broth, cover and continue to simmer until desired wiltedness (anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
5 oz salmon filet
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
Preheat oven to 450. Place salmon skin side down on foil-lined baking sheet. Pat fish dry with paper towel. Brush with olive oil until lightly covered. Season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook for 12 minutes.
1 head cauliflower
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
salt, pepper, paprika (a few tsp)
Preheat oven to 450. Chop cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. In a bowl, combine the cauliflower, garlic, just enough olive oil to coat, salt, pepper, and paprika and toss. Spread the cauliflower on a baking sheet* and bake for about 40 minutes until browned.
*If you have trouble getting your roasted veggies to brown, your baking sheet may be to blame. Many non-stick baking sheets make this difficult to do. Solution: Line your baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with Pam before roasting veggies.