Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sautéed Kale Satisfies as a Side Dish or an Entree

The idea to sauté kale came accidentally. For a dinner party we had been given a massively large platter with grapes, blueberries, strawberries, and half a dozen assorted cheeses on top of a layer of kale leaves. Wanting to make the cheeses and fruit more presentable, we moved them onto nice plates. That left the kale and the plastic platter.

The first impulse was to chuck both. Since kale leaves are large and sturdy, they are frequently used to disguise the awfulness of disposable plastic deli platters. Discarding the kale is the culinary equivalent of throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Sautéing kale with other vegetables makes a delicious side dish that goes equally well with tofu, meat, poultry, or fish.

But don't stop there. Turn the side dish into an entree by adding pasta or rice. Keep it vegetarian or add cooked chicken, beef or pork or uncooked shrimp or pieces of skinned, deboned fish.

Sautéed Kale with Farm Fresh Vegetables

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 20-30 minutes


One bunch farmers' market fresh kale, washed
1 medium onion, washed, peeled, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled, mashed, roughly chopped
6 shiitake or brown mushrooms, washed, dried, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, washed, trimmed, peeled, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
1 tablespoon sweet butter (optional)
1 cup chicken stock or water (optional)
1 cup firm tofu, cut into small cubes (optional)
2 cups cooked meat, poultry, or uncooked seafood (optional)
3 cups cooked rice or 4 cups cooked pasta (optional)


Trim off the ends off the kale, then roughly chop into dime-sized pieces. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a chef's pan, add all the vegetables. Season with sea salt and pepper. Sauté until lightly browned. Finish with the sweet butter (optional).

If you want to continue on and use the kale-saute with pasta or rice, keep the dish vegetarian by deglazing the pan with water, add cubes of tofu, rice or pasta and let simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and pepper.

For a meat entree, use stock to deglaze, then add either meat, poultry or seafood, the cooked rice or pasta and simmer 5-10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and pepper.


Add other vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower florets

Add peppers, hot or sweet

Add 1/4 teaspoon each ground cumin, coriander, and turmeric to the saute

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