It’s true. Kale is amazing. It’s healthy and extremely versatile. You can eat it raw, sauteed, braised or baked. It can be a snack, a side or a main course. There are a few types of kale. The most commonly seen in supermarkets and at the farmers market are: Lacinato Kale or Dinosaur Kale, Curly Kale and Red Kale. The best thing about kale is that, at the farmer’s market, it’s really cheap!
Here’s a recipe I’ve been working on and have finally perfected!
Sauteed Kale with Carmelized Onions, Mushrooms & Parmesan
Time: 20 Minutes
Difficulty Level: Medium
What You’ll Need
- a stove
- a sauté pan
- a mixing bowl
- 1 bunch curly kale, ripped into small pieces*
- zest of one lemon
- juice of one lemon
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms
- 1/2 yellow onion, sliced very thinly
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- salt and pepper to taste
*Kale has a very thick, hard rib the runs through its center. This rib does not cook down and its very tough and unpleasant to eat. The easiest way to remove the ribs is to make a circle with your hand and run your hand from the bottom of the kale to the top. If you do this gently, it should come off the rib very easily. Wash your kale very well. Curly Kale, even if it’s pre-washed when you buy it, has lots of hiding places for dirt and bugs. Yep, kale is grown in dirt and bugs like dirt. You’ll live. Don’t worry about drying the kale. Rip it into small pieces and set it aside.
If you have multiple pans, use the biggest one your have for the kale. If you only have one pan, cook your onions first. Coat your pan with olive oil and let it heat up. Be careful when using olive oil as it has a low smoking point. If your pan is smoking, clean out your pan and start over. Once olive oil reaches its smoking point, its flavor will change and become bitter. Once your oil is hot (it will move easily over the pan) add your onions. You want to cook them on a medium low heat, moving them around every once in a while. If you cook onions too high they will brown very quickly and won’t achieve caramelization. Cook for 5 minutes until sweet and brown. Add your garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Transfer your onion and garlic mixture to a bowl. Add another few drops of olive oil to the pan and add your mushrooms, again on a medium low heat. Once the mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes, add them to the bowl with the onions and garlic.
Now, if you have another pan, use it. If not, wipe the excess oil out of your pan. I try and use the biggest saute pan I have to cook the kale. Heat your pan over medium high heat. Once your pan is hot, add your kale (if you have a small pan you might have to do this in 2 or 3 repetitions). If there is too much oil in your pan, and water in your kale, it will start to pop and throw oil at you. You will be burned. Move the kale around with your tongs until it starts to crisp up and changes from a matte green to a shiny, darker green. Kale is not spinach, it will not wilt and reduce in size, however you do want it to soften up. If you need to, after your kale is hot, add a touch of oil to your pan. This will speed up your wilting process.
Once your kale is cooked, mix it together with the onions and mushroom mixture. Add the parmesan while your kale is still hot so it has time to melt a bit. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix well using your tongs. Season with salt and pepper.
You can eat this dish hot or cold. It’s great as a first course or as a side to a simple protein. Last night I paired it with filet mignon and glazed carrots. It’s also great the next day!
Hopefully you’re one step closer to loving kale. If this doesn’t do it for you, I’ll try to change your mind in the future and show you how to prepare kale a completely different way!