Until I was in my 20s, I thought
kale came in one form: curled
around the inner edges of the
bowls on a salad bar. Remember
that? The potato salad sat in a
flourish of green presentation—
kale. We’ve come a long way since
those salad bar days of the ’80s.
Kale is such a lovely, hearty
leafy green. It’s packed with flavor.
You only need to do a little coaxing
with a slow braise or a good
dressing or some salt and oil to
let kale reveal itself.
I love cooking with it. In the last
few years in particular, I love using
kale in the vegan specials I make
at my restaurant, The Hardware
Store on Vashon Island. A dollop
of yam soup, topped with roasted
tofu and sprinkled with kale chips
or a braised kale with roasted
sweet potato slices and a cilantro-mint sauce. Somehow, kale shows
up in plenty of my cooking.
Shauna loves lacinato kale most.
I also love the red Russian kale,
which is a little more curly and
a little sweeter. A farmer on the
island grows it in huge volumes for
our restaurant. We go through it
fast. People just love the taste.
If you pay attention to what is
growing at this moment, you’ll
know what to eat. Kale is available
year-round in the market, but the
winter and early spring is when it’s
sweetest. Eat your kale now. You
won’t regret it.
PREP TIME 10 min
COOK TIME 13 min
Braising kale makes it tender and
even more full of flavor than when it’s
raw. This dish works beautifully as a
side dish to pork chops, baked fish or
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
4 cups lacinato kale, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
Set a deep skillet over medium-
high heat. Add the olive oil. When
the oil is hot, add the onion and
garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until
the onions have softened, about 5
minutes. (Take care not to burn the
garlic.) Add the thyme and cook until
fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the kale and broth; stir.
Cover and reduce the heat to low.
Simmer until tender, 5 to 6 minutes.