Nettles yesterday, chard and kale today, I need to dash to the freezer and neutralize the situation with a little ice cream.
Kale and chard stand robustly in the backyard having survived a cold winter turned to frigid spring. They may be on the ebb, but are still delicious. Next winter’s crop will be planted in August. For now, we have a bowlful once or twice a week and can’t help feeling smug about this one healthy habit. If we dip into dessert after dinner we’re vindicated by the after glow of greens.
A basic greens routine: Rinse and coarsely chop six to eight cups of kale or chard, which will become two – three cups after cooking. Steam with the lid on for five or ten minutes, season with salt and pepper and a splash of vinegar. (Kale, which has a thicker leaf, takes longer to cook and diminishes less than chard.)
For an additional flavor nudge, sauté chopped bacon, drain the fat and add a finely chopped shallot. Cook together for a minute before adding raw greens. Taste to know when they’re ready, usually five – ten minutes.
Or, you can do as my grandmother did: add a little more fat to cooked greens (olive oil is fine, though you know the grandmothers would have added bacon drippings), a big splash of vinegar and cook together for another 30 seconds or so. Dig in, go with dark greens and be healthy.
Bags of kale, chard and other braising greens are available at Farmers Markets. Willie Greens, as its name implies, has it all. They have kale recipes on their website that sound wonderful.
Kale has significant anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, is high in beta carotene and vitamins K, A, and C.