The Best Kale You've Never Had

the best kale / nicolemcaruso.com

Have you ever had (or made) overdone or underdone leafy greens like kale? A bitter bite of kale, collards, or even chard will make anyone think twice before eating it again. Even if you've had a bad kale experience, I challenge you to try this recipe and let me know what you think! I really believe it is the best kale you've never had, until now.

STEP 1: RIP AND WASH THE KALE

the best kale / nicolemcaruso.com

I know some stores carry pre-washed and cut kale, but so often they don't remove the stalks (which are super hard to chew and digest) and it's not as fresh. Also, if the leaves are yellow, it's already begun to decompose, so don't eat it. We shop for our organic kale at Whole Foods or the local farmer's market, and we alternate between Tuscan kale (also called Dinosaur kale which has flatter, darker leaves) or curly kale (pictured above). 

To prepare the 2 bunches of kale into bite size pieces, I hold the stalk in my left hand, make a fist around the very bottom leaves, and slide my fist over the stalk until the greens tear away from the stalk on their own. Once the leaves are free from the stalk, I tear the rest by hand and place them in a salad spinner. I find tearing the greens is faster and far more satisfying than simply chopping them, which can bruise the leaves if the knife is dull. 

After rinsing and draining the salad spinner twice, it's ready to be cooked. 

STEP 2: SAUTE-STEAM WITH SALT AND FAT

 RAW

RAW

 SAUTE-STEAMED

SAUTE-STEAMED

Depending on the week, sometimes I have beef tallow (the fat that floats to the top of bone broth) to cook my greens with, but if not, I reach for refined coconut oil which has a less coconut-y flavor than extra virgin coconut oil. Both options are fabulous healthy fats and have high smoke points, which keeps the fat from oxidizing.

I add about 2-3 tablespoons of fat to the bottom of the pan as it heats up to medium heat. Then, I sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons of sea salt right into the fat, depending on how big the bunches of kale are. I shove the entire salad spinner full into the sauce pan (a sauce pot works well too), then cover with a lid for 3 minutes to allow the kale to steam slightly. 

Next, I remove the lid and use tongs to mix the kale so the leaves get evenly cooked. Continue cooking with the lid off for another 3-5 minutes, and the kale should turn a vibrant dark green, signaling it's done. If the lid stays on too long, it will turn a sour shade of green and taste bitter, so be sure to watch it carefully (read: do not walk away from the kale). 

STEP 3: PLATE AND EAT

the best kale / nicolemcaruso.com

Kale is so hearty and full of vitamins, which is why we eat it so often. I love eating it saute-steamed like this, served alongside a sweet potato and grass-fed ground beef. But it also tastes amazing in soups, thrown over brown rice pasta, or pureed into a cream (to get babies to eat it) with steak or fish. I hope you love this recipe! 

SHOP FOR THE TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS TO MAKE THE BEST KALE: