I’ve been hearing for a long time how kale’s one of the healthiest vegetables to eat, but the one time I snagged and ate a corner of a piece it was tough and mildly bitter. Little did I know that when cooked properly it not only has a great texture and flavor, but it also retains most of it’s nutritional value despite the cooking. Prep the kale as described below and you can then use it in a billion preparations. The simpler, the better if you asked me. One of my favorites: thinly slice then saute two cloves of garlic in olive oil over medium heat. Add cooked kale, season with salt and white pepper and toss for about a minute until cooked through.
Also, a note on the prepping of kale: the spine is tough and not very tasty, so you want to remove it. I’ve seen people recommend folding the kale in half along the spine and cutting both leaves off at once. Although that works, it’s wasteful and I think takes more time. Just flip the leaf so the thick side of the spine faces up and run a sharp paring knife right up against it on both sides to separate the leaves. When you get the hang of it, it’s very fast to do.
Fill a large lidded saucepot 2/3 full with water, add a large dash of salt and place on high heat with the lid on until it boils. Throw in the washed kale, cover and continue boiling at high heat one minute, then open lid stir, and cover again. After 90 seconds, check if kale has the bite you like. If not, let boil covered about another 30 seconds. DON’T overcook as the kale will completely wilt and become a hot mess. When done to your liking, quickly drain and run under cold water or, better yet, drain and shock in an ice bath.
Dashi Miso Sauce
1 heaping Tbsp. Dashi Miso
1 Tbsp. Mirin
1 Tbsp. Rice Vinegar
1 tsp. white sugar
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the water and miso, whisking constantly until the miso breaks up completely. Transfer to a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together until sugar is dissolved. The sesame oil will not fully emulsify, but don’t worry – it’s only to add a little flavor.
Finishing the dish
Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add kale and 1/2 cup of the Miso Dressing. Stir together until warmed through, just over a minute.
A few days later our friend Toni and her adorable little girl Natalie were over for dinner and I decided to use the leftover Dashi Miso Sauce for some broccoli. While I sauteed the broccoli (a little over 2 cups worth) over medium-high in a pan with about 2 Tbsp. of water, I heated the Miso Sauce (had a little more than 1/4 cup in reserve) in a saucepan over medium heat. I mixed together 1/2 tsp. cornstarch and 1 teaspoon of water in a bowl and then whisked it in (a little bit at a time) once the Miso Sauce started bubbling. You need to add just enough cornstarch mix so that it gets “sticky,” but you’re not trying to make a gravy here. When the broccoli was cooked (less than 5 minutes) I added the Miso Sauce to it, tossed and served. Even little Natalie was diggin’ it.