The nifty food recommender-thingy on this site keeps suggesting kale to me. I've never had kale. Can I eat it either raw (like spinach in a spinach salad?) or is it better cooked (like spinach?) How does it taste compared to spinach? What spices or flavors do you put on your kale? How do you prepare it?
Kale, here I come!
i believe kale is related to cabbage, it even has a bit of a cabbage flavor. I love kale and 2 things i have done with it are as follows:
ham and greens: chop up a large bunch of kale, throw in some onion, chicken broth and a piece of ham and let it bol til the kale is soft. yum.
sauteed kale: sautee onions and garlic, then put kale on top and toss. Add balsamic vinegar or soy sauce.
Kale is more hardy than spinach, with a stronger flavor and a tougher leaf. But like spinach, it wilts when you cook it ... just not as much, and it doesn't let off the same amount of water either. It doesn't get mushy. It shrinks a little, not a lot like spinach does.
Fall and winter is kale season. Experiment with it, early kale tends to be less strong tasting -slightly more sweet and less bitter. My favorite is dinosaur kale - look around for it and give it a try.
The later in the season you go, the more bitter it starts to get. If you get a bitter batch, don't give up on it completely! Just try it a different time of year, or read labels and try it from a different supplying country.
I just cut it up, toss it in a wok with olive oil and ginger, and stir-fry until wilted but still bright green. Don't overcook.
Also it's great to add to soups, but add it late in the game, maybe just 5 minutes before serving, because if it cooks too long it can overpower all the other flavors. I personally don't particularly care for boiled kale that's been cooked a long time, but YMMV.
The bitter greens tend to be an acquired taste. I love it, not everyone does. I try to work in one serving a day.
Until I developed an allergy to it, I always sauted kale. Since it's much tougher than spinach, the sauteing takes longer. And some books/chefs recommend parboiling or blanching it first. It's yummy with garlic. (BTW, who develops an allergy to something like kale? Me, that's who. Sigh.)
The side effects of allergy medications keep some people from using them. Natural remedies can be a great alternative, but some are more effective than others.