Recipe: Simmered Kale

If there’s a tastier kale recipe, I’ve yet to find it.  Here are two versions — rich and less-so — of a wonderful, quick kale preparation.  It’s particularly good with dino kale.

This dish, originally named Kale Simmered in Cream, is so delicious that it should be illegal.  The nutritional benefits of kale are pretty much wiped out by the cholesterol count.  To that end, I recently reworked the recipe to lighten it up (a lot) while retaining the divine flavors.  See both versions below.  The original recipe is from one of the first cookbooks I ever bought (and still a winner): “Cooking The Nouvelle Cuisine in America” by Michele Urvater and David Liederman.  Yes, the nouvelle cuisine hasn’t been new in decades but if you stumble across the book (5 stars on Amazon, currently), buy it.

(original version)

3/4 lb fresh kale, inner stalks removed

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon grated lime rind

salt & pepper to taste

  • Wash the kale leaves well.  In a large saucepan, bring 1-inch of water to a boil and drop the kale into the pan, cooking uncovered on medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the leaves are tender but have some bite.  Remove and dunk in ice water to stop the cooking.  Squeeze out excess moisture and roughly chop.
  • Reduce the cream over medium heat until it’s half its original volume. Add the chopped kale, lime zest and salt and pepper. Toss well. Heat and serve immediately.

(my version)

1 lb fresh kale (dino kale, or any other kind), inner stalks removed

1/4 cup heavy cream (or less)

1/3 cup demi-glace* or other super-reduced stock

zest of 1 lime

lime juice

salt & pepper to taste

  • Wash the kale leaves well.  Blanch them in boiling water until wilted but still green (2 minutes or thereabouts). Immediately dunk in ice water to stop cooking. Use salad spinner to remove as much moisture as possible.  Roughly chop and set aside.
  • Heat the cream and reduce slightly.  Add the super-reduced stock.  Heat, then add the kale and lime zest.  Add fresh lime juice to taste, and salt & pepper.  Can be served immediately or reheated later.

* I routinely make chicken stock and reduce it until it’s very thick, then use this as a cream or butter replacement.  Hard to believe (until you try it) but you can actually make a delicious buerre blanc in this fashion, replacing 3/4 of the butter with demi-glace.

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