Kale! Who knew it was so yummy!?
I had kale for the first time this New Year’s Day when I added a handful to my Good Luck Black Eyed Peas recipe. I assumed it would be similar to the greens I grew up with (Poke salad, Collard and Mustard Greens), but it is so much better. It is heartier and much less bitter, so I was definitely ready to go another round with Kale and use up my leftovers from the black eyed peas.
Usually when I’m trying to get ideas of how to use new-to-me ingredients, I Google until my eyeballs fall out and then a little more, just to make sure I’ve read enough about the dos and don’ts of that particular item.
Not this time. Looking in the fridge, I realized I had the makings of a decent wilted greens recipe and wanted to see how Kale stood up to the test. (SPOILER ALERT: It totally did, and then some)
All you need is just a few basic ingredients to make this recipe. If you don’t have any ham/bacon/cured meat items, or if you want to make the recipe vegan, you are still going to need a little more oil, a small amount of vegetable broth , or a tasty savory vinegar of some kind to act as a wilting agent. As for me, I have ham to use up.
- 3-4 Cups Kale – Rough Chopped
- 3oz Ham – Diced
- 1-2 tsp Olive Oil
- 2-3 Garlic Cloves – Minced
- 1/4 cup Onions (Any Kind) – Diced
- Salt- to taste
- Pepper- to taste
Heat a heavy bottomed skillet to medium high heat and add oil. The goal is to sear/brown the ham, soften the onions and release the flavor of the garlic. When pan is heated, add onion, then ham, then garlic. Cook until onions are soft and ham is browned.
Once this mixture is browned and ready, turn the heat down to medium and toss in the kale. Stir quickly to coat the kale in the yummy brownness from the pan, and to distribute the other ingredients evenly. You want to make sure the greens are fully coated to prevent crisping. The goal isn’t to steam or boil, so if you have enough liquid for this to be happening, either drain a little off, or let it cook down before adding the Kale.
When fully mixed, throw a lid on it and let the wilting commence. You are not frying or steaming, you are wilting, so this shouldn’t take too long. Check on the Kale after about 3-4 minutes. It should be wilted down to about half of its previous volume, but still very vibrant green and tender. If the Kale is still very “leafy,” stir, and put the lid back on and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Don’t lift the lid off too frequently, lest you prolong the cooking time.
The wilting is complete when the greens are tender, soft, and for lack of a better word, floppy. Salt and pepper to your preference and enjoy. My mother likes to eat greens with a dash of vinegar, so if you actually LIKE vinegar, give it a try.
I was really surprised how much I loved this recipe, and it will definitely be making a reappearance as a side dish or maybe even to a summery pot luck (perhaps with a mix of spinach, pepitas and prosciutto). Yum Yum Yum Enjoy!