Cooking Harvesting

Naturally addictive “tossed” garlic kale

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“Have you tried this kale?” amazed friends asked me at our school’s fall fair a week ago. Once I did, I realized what all the commotion was about. It was Delicious, with a capital D. We hunted down the parents in charge of the soup/bread/kale stand, and we promptly begged for the secret to this savory, not-raw-but-not-wilted, garlicky, gingery magic. I knew I could have eaten a whole bowl this size once I found it. I envisioned regular meals made from the Red Russian kale I am still growing in the garden…

A targeted phone call, two messengers, and a couple of bunches of kale later, here it was. Loosely:

  • Pour a “good bit” of sesame oil and a little olive oil into a pan. I put about 2-3 Tbs. of sesame and 1 Tbs. olive oil to work in my wok. I minced a piece of fresh ginger the size of my thumbnail, and thinly sliced 2 huge garlic cloves (equivalent to about 4 regular cloves). Keep the ratio about two garlic to one ginger.
  • Over a medium flame, heat the oil to hot but not smoking (trust me); then sautee the garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds. Mine bronwed a bit too quickly, which I could have avoided if my pan and oil weren’t so hot. Take the pan off the heat to let the aromatics keep infusing the hot oil without fear of over-cooking them. Then, add a teaspoon of salt to the oil and stir around.
  • Finally, toss the trimmed, torn kale into the oil mixture and stir it around to coat. You’re not sauteeing or frying it. The alchemy comes simply from combining these leafy greens with the warm garlicky, gingery oil; it just softens every so slightly.
  • That’s it. Try to share it with your family. They’ll soon crave it—and you can be their dealer.


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