I suppose I should not have been surprised to see the richly textured green leaves of Lacinato, or dinosaur, kale when I opened my latest brown bag o’ mystery from the farmers’ market. It is not only a superfood du jour, it is also a favorite of Joe’s. It’s also–despite the current heatwave–a little early to expect much else from our local farmers. This formerly neglected member of the brassica family has of late leapt to centerstage as foodies turn more to local, seasonal produce.
First and foremost, it’s a tasty, sturdy green that offers an earthy, verdant flavor even during the depths of winter when green can be hard to come by. Kale’s also sturdier than spinach–baby or otherwise–and is thus far more rewarding to cook with; it will cook down, but a pound of sauteed kale will net you a few side servings where the same amount of spinach will have to be served by the thimbleful. It’s much touted nutritional value–packing massive amounts of antioxidant vitamins and phytonutrients per calorie–also adds to kale’s appeal.
Unsurprisingly, the blogosphere has been abuzz with kale-related postings–so much ink has been spilled on kale “chips” alone that it counts as meme in and of itself. Given the intense heat of kale’s spotlight, it will be interesting to see what we both come up with for Challenge Kale. Not chips, for sure, and we’ve already done it with pasta. So, check back in soon; we’ll be posting our two odes to kale in the next day or so.