Winter Veggies: Dino Kale w/ Shiitake Mushrooms and Garlic

Until I grew it myself and picked it young, I didn’t much like kale. My complaint was that by the time you’d cooked it until tender,  much of the color and flavor had disappeared. The answer, I discovered, is to grow your own or be very choosy about what you buy at the farmer’s market or store.

More recently, I’ve come to like this ancient and widely-eaten member of the cabbage family quite a lot. Dino kale, aka lacinto kale or, in Italian, cavalo nero, has the advantage of being cold hardy and  standing up well to shipping and storage.  If you trim out the firm stems and cut the leaves finely, you can cook it until tender while preserving most of the great color and flavor.  Here’s a quick and tasty way to cook dino, or any other kale for that matter:

Choose a bunch that is fresh looking, with not-so-large leaves, deep green in color with an almost blueish cast. Wash the kale and cut out the center stem, unless the kale is exceptionally young and tender.  You can save these stems for soup.  Trim the larger leaves in half lengthwise and cut across into 1/2″ strips.  In addition you will need:

5 or 6 fresh shiitake, crimini or button mushrooms, rinsed and thinly sliced

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons oil (this may seem like a lot, but much of it will stay in the pan)

1/2 – 1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon mirin (optional–but good)

a little sprinkle of salt

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (also optional and good)

Heat a wok or large sauté pan until very hot. Add the oil, mushrooms, garlic, and a little pinch of salt, sauté, stirring constantly 3-4 minutes. Add the kale, stir fry a minute or two more. Add a tablespoon of water, the soy sauce and mirin, cover and steam for 3-4 minutes. Remove cover, check for seasoning and doneness.  Finish with a tiny extra sprinkle of soy sauce and the lemon juice, if you like.  Enjoy! (2-3 generous servings, depending on the size of the bunch of kale you buy)


2 responses

  1. I hate to say this, but this was one of the most poorly written recipes that I have encountered. The ingredients were good, however, the amount of oil and the timing not so… My pan is burnt to a crisp and the vegetable is in the trash.

    • Kathy, Sorry the recipe didn’t work for you. I guess next time reduce the quantity of oil and add a little more liquid. It is a very basic recipe and I will review it to see if I can improve it. Gary

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