Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kale is having its moment

kale chips are super easy to make
In the time since I first started writing this post a few weeks ago, I've heard kale mentioned approximately a zillion times.
- Bearded guy on the patio at Bar Covell: "Local has the most amazing kale salad!"
- Tweet from someone I follow: "Great greens from Montrose farmer's market 3? kinds of kale!"
Naturally, that tweet came with the hashtag #kaleaddicts.
- Facebook post from the Paris By Mouth blog: "Free kale plants for urban gardens to be picked up at Candelaria? Paris really IS becoming New York."
During that time -- which coincided with the Charlie Sheen meltdown -- there was also an article in the New York Post, "Kale is totally winning."
Why is kale suddenly so sexy? Spinach never had this kind of cachet. No one is that ardent about chard. The main reason is that eating kale makes you feel amazingly virtuous. It doesn't matter if your whiskey-soaked evening was followed by a bacon-laden breakfast -- one kale salad later and you've zeroed out any fouls to the body.
Plus, made into baked chips, it feels like you've pulled off some kind of sneaky swap -- they're addictively salty and crunchy and even coated with a bit of olive oil, still extremely healthy.
Vegans love kale, but so do carnivores who find the slight bitterness nicely offsets something rich like pork belly or shortribs. Though it's actually more nutritious and easier to chew when cooked, kale salads have become popular despite the rather sturdy leaves. What sounds sexy and again, is really good for you? Massaging kale, that's what. Yes, if you want to eat kale raw, it helps to gently massage the dressing into it to soften up the fibers.
Here's Smitten Kitchen's recipe for kale chips. Like Smitten Kitchen, I used lacinato or black kale, which seems sweeter and less fibrous, but I think it works with either kind.
Here's a recipe from Dr. Andrew Weil's True Food Kitchen for Tuscan kale salad, which will be on the menu at the new Santa Monica Place location of the Phoenix and Newport Beach healthy food restaurant, opening May 9.
What other restaurants have good kale offerings?


Unknown said...

Elf Cafe - both the Spicy Moroccan and the Spicy Citrus Kale Salad are excellent.


Anonymous said...

The long cooked cavolo nero at AOC makes me weep it's so delicious.

Daily Gluttony said...

Cham Korean Bistro in Pasadena puts kale in their dol sot bibimbap (sizzling bibim bap), and it's delicious. It's inspired me to add kale regularly to my homemade fried rice and other Asian rice dishes...I love it!

lynn said...

m cafe's is the best, and veggie grill makes a wonderful salad. and i've got the recipes to both!!!

oddlyme said...

What a delight to see the link for Smitten Kitchen's kale chips - that's what converted me!

Border Grill uses Kale in a few of their dishes - it comes off as rich and very satisfying, with a nice bit of edge.

Jackie said...

Thanks for the recipe! Excited to try!

Amy Seidenwurm said...

This kale mania has been going on for quite some time. I first noticed it here: