Just what is black kale and how do you prepare it? Here are some great suggestions!
Kale is a leafy, green vegetable that can be enjoyed raw in a salad, sautéed or even oven roasted to create kale chips! While you may know all about kale, you may be less familiar with black kale, which is also referred to as Dinosaur kale, Italian black cabbage or Cavalo Nero.
Unlike the more common variety of kale, black kale’s leaves are very large and almost resemble the fronds of a palm tree! In addition, they have a much more tender stem and are larger towards the base from which they grow than at the top, where they have narrow, slightly pointed tips.
Black kale is available all year round, with its peak season in winter.
It tastes quite similar to green cabbage, but has a bit more of a sweet, earthy flavor that can take on a nutty taste, especially if you sauté it in a little oil.
When black kale is young, it is much more tender and is perfect to use as a salad green. However, when the leaves are fully mature, they are best cooked.
Much like spinach, they require very little cooking time as their central stem is very tender.
Flavors that work beautifully with black kale include garlic, sesame seeds or oil, soy sauce and ginger. It also works well in hearty soups!
It lends itself well to casseroles and stews, especially those that feature the flavors of bay leaves, oregano, thyme, pepper flakes, nutmeg, shallots, and onions.
You can also pair black kale with other kinds of veggies like tomato and sweet potatoes!
If you are looking to use black kale more frequently, here are some preparation tips for you:
To serve raw:
In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil and cook the black kale for about 3-4 minutes. The kale should wilt and darken in color.
If you want your black kale to have a bit of a bite to it, plunge it into an ice bath for a few moments, blanching it. Fry some bacon and roughly chop. In a large bowl, mix the bacon and cooked black kale and add some butter - delicious!
For use in soups and stews, or even pasta sauces, add chopped black kale towards the end of the cooking process. The leaves do hold their structure well, unlike spinach, so they won’t turn mushy and unappetizing when used this way.
To stir fry:
Heat some sesame oil over high heat, cook garlic, chilli and fresh ginger for a few minutes and add in the black kale leaves, cooking for about 3-4 minutes. The leaves should still have a bit of a bite to them and and the stir fried flavors make this dish irresistible.