I came late to the kale game. I've always cooked collard greens, and over the years I've cooked and enjoyed turnip greens and mustard greens. I've been growing collard and mustard greens for years in our garden in Saint-Aignan. Now I'm growing two kinds of kale.
It started in North Carolina a few years ago, when I saw a big bag of curly kale leaves for sale in the Piggly Wiggly supermarket in Beaufort. The price: 50 cents. I thought it was time I tried it. I cooked it the way I usually cook collard greens — long and slow, with some bacon or salt pork and a good pinch (or more) of hot red pepper flakes. I also add some white wine, and I like to cook greens in chicken broth too.
I thought it was good and I grew some curly kale here in France over the 2013-2014 winter. The plants were pretty, but they couldn't compare to the red Russian kale I'm growing this summer. Besides, the curly kale leaves collect a lot of dirt, grit, and bugs, and it's a lot of trouble to wash them thoroughly.
The Red Russian or Siberian variety you see here has smooth, delicate leaves and, despite its name, it doesn't seem to need Siberian weather in order to thrive. I got the seeds in North Carolina last spring, and I hope I can find more of them when I go back the next time. I have to get out there and cut some more leaves this week. It's good blanched and then sautéed with garlic or onion.
I haven't yet tried adding some of the youngest, tenderest leaves to salads, but I will do so. I read on a web site this morning that kale is more beneficial health-wise after the leaves have been steamed than it is eaten raw. So that's also a plan. Above is a photo of the back yard and jardin potager, where we also have Swiss chard and Tuscan kale growing, seen from out at the end of the path yesterday morning.
When I opened the back gate to go out walking with Callie the collie, a big gray heron lifted off out of the pond, where it must have been feeding, or at least getting a drink. I snapped a photo as quickly as I could. When such a big bird suddenly takes to flight so close to you, it's startling. I've seen this one at least twice over the past week.
Hi Ken, There is a French site which offers a wide selection of seeds, including Red Ruffled kale, at KokopelliReplyDelete
Also, Yotam Ottolenghi had some really good chard recipes in The Guardian at the weekend (hope the links work!)
Bonne dégustation to you both!
Thanks for those good links. The Kokopelli seed site looks amazing. And now I need to harvest chard as well as kale.Delete
I love to be startled by big bird like that heron. For me it's mostly been a wild turkey or two and they don't fly as high as your heron. Thanks for the photo you managed to snap after the startle....ReplyDelete
The heron wasn't there yesterday morning when I went out with Callie. I had my camera at the ready, so I was disappointed.Delete
I made kale tabbouleh yesterday with mostly red Russian kale; it's a great summertime dish. I tried to link or paste the recipe here, but I couldn't. If you're interested, Ken, let me know and I can send it to you.ReplyDelete
I am interested, Bob. I think you have an e-mail address for me. Thanks.Delete
Done. Should be in your inbox by now.Delete
Very lovely yard.ReplyDelete
Except the vegetable garden we can't take much credit. The rest was here when we arrived.Delete
Ken... it may have been there... but you must have been good custodians, thus far!?Delete
Thirteen years and counting.Delete
Piggly Wiggly...we had those in Texas. That brings back memories.ReplyDelete
My sister makes "kale chips" with the leaves. Remove spine from leaf, cut into potato chip sized pieces, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake til crisp (briefly).
The Piggly Wiggly in Beaufort NC is very "down home" with a lot of local and regional products. I like going to shop there. I think Intermarché here is similar.Delete
kale looks healthyReplyDelete
Ken, in my experience, the young leaves in salads need to be extremely young! The flavour, tho', is great.ReplyDelete
We do a broad bean and Red Russian winter salad... warm or cold... dressed in light soy and sesame oil. We get a crop from the Red Russian all winter and into the Spring... which is when we harvest the wonderful poor-man's 'sparrowgrass'.... the "Dino" kale or Black Tuscan is good that way, too, but the strips of leaf need to be cooked or steamed longer... Red Russian is far more tender.
The seed is avaiable from Baumaux...Rouge de Russie [bottom of page 253 if you have the Printemps 2016 catalogue... you can still sow into mid August. They call it an American speciality??
Be warned...the website [www.baumaux.com] is a house of mirrors... I've lost Pauline in there for hours!!
The winter salad used the larger leaves, lightly cooked....Delete
Most years I plant some collards or kale at about this time of year so that I can harvest some in December and January, but this year I won't need to do that.Delete