Kale and other dark leafy greens are both nutritious and cheap. For those of you with year-round farm shares, kale may be ubiquitous during the colder months. I personally love it, especially the darker green varieties, and cooked in the following simple way it makes a great addition to many meals or even a quick meal all by itself.
Kale bunch (around 3/4 lb.)
Several cloves of garlic, minced
Pinch of red chili flakes
Pinch of salt
4 tbs olive oil
Wash the kale thoroughly in a strainer several times, rubbing individual leaves to make sure no dirt remains between the folds. After you’re done do not dry the leaves with towels or shake them off: you want the leaves to be wet so that they steam properly, but not so wet that they will be soggy. The key to this dish is getting the leaves to brown a bit in the pan before steaming so that you get that caramelized taste.
Next, roughly chop up the kale leaves down to the base of the stem and set the chopped leaves aside in a large bowl. Toss these with salt.
Heat olive oil in pan and saute the kale on high heat, moving the leaves around to coat with oil. Cover the pan for a minute or two until the leaves begin to wilt. Uncover and stir in the garlic.
Re-cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook covered for 9-10 minutes.
When the 10 minutes are up, the leaves should be well wilted and the stems should be tender. Add the red pepper flakes and serve immediately.
Variations: you can use almost any type of dark leafy greens to make this simple dish. If you use a heavier, more bitter green like collards, toss them in white vinegar with the salt before cooking. This results in a lighter version of the classic collard greens, which are usually cooked uncovered in pork stock rather than steamed.