We have decided that our kale crop has outstripped our expectations. And the collard greens, too, have exceeded expectations. The weather has been perfect. We had a short cold snap in the first half of December. Frost and light freezes sweeten the greens. And for about a month now, we've had above-freezing temperatures in the morning and afternoon highs in the high 40s and high 50s (8 to 14ºC). Greens love to grow in that kind of weather.
I went out and harvested a big basketful of kale just a few days ago. We took the youngest, prettiest leaves, washed them thoroughly, and then coarsely chopped them with a big knife. We sauteed them in a chef's pan, uncovered, with two crushed and chopped cloves of garlic, a little olive oil, some salt and pepper, a splash of white wine, and a pinch of hot red pepper flakes. The cooking took about 10 minutes, and the result did not disappoint.
I cooked the rest of the kale leaves — the tougher ones — the way I've always cooked collard greens, according to family tradition. But I didn't really season them much this time. Salt, pepper, oil, and again a splash of white wine with some water. I let the greens "stew" in the little bit of liquid for 20 to 30 minutes. The leaves still had a slightly crunchy texture when I took them out of the pan, let them cool, and packed them in a quart container for the freezer. We'll likely cook them some more when it comes time to eat them, and season them with duck fat, bacon fat, or chicken broth. We'll see.
...and kale cooked
You can be sure we'll be growing more kale and collards in our French jardin potager next year and for the foreseeable future. On the markets here, and in the supermarkets, we can get Brussels sprouts, several kinds of cabbage (green, savoy, red), endives, and plenty of other leafy green vegetables. But the kale and collard greens we have to grow if we want them, and we do. Unless the weather turns a lot colder over the next month or two, we'll get another good-sized harvest of collard greens before spring arrives, and more kale.