Call it what you will−Lacinato kale, Tuscan kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, dinosaur kale, cavolo nero, black kale, flat back cabbage or, whew, palm tree kale, we love when this tasty green shows up in our CSA share. Because of its earthy, nutty flavors and lack of bitterness typical to most greens, this is the perfect “gateway green” to cook for your friends that think they don’t like dark, leafy vegetables. Chop the leaves for scrambled eggs, toss them into pasta sauce, sauté them for a pizza topping or try one of these simple and delicious recipes.
Smoky Kale Chips
Adapted from Ellie Krieger, Food Network
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the center ribs and stems from 1 bunch of kale; tear the leaves into 3-inch pieces. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, making sure the leaves are coated. Add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and stir to coat. Spread on 2 parchment lined baking sheets. Bake until crisp, about 12 to 14 minutes.
Cream of Kale
Remove the center ribs and stems from 2 pounds of kale. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the kale leaves and cook for one minute. Remove the leaves, rinse in ice water, drain and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt two tablespoons butter and add the kale, a 3/4 cup whole milk and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, or until the milk has thickened. Optional-stir in a ½ cup of ricotta or grated cheddar cheese and cook until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2012 edition of the magazine.