Green, leafy vegetables being so strongly associated with summer dishes (in my book, at least), I tend to forget how prolific they are during the autumn and winter months, too. There are some wonderful green things around at the moment and at the Wiesbaden farmer’s market as well as in the shops, you can barely move for vast, carpet-like mounds of cabbage, chard and kale. I’ve never had anything much to do with the presently ubiquitous Grünkohl, or curly kale – not for any particular reason – but since a friend mentioned he fancied making kale crisps a few weeks ago, I have barely stopped thinking about the stuff.
So now, armed with a 1kg bag of robust, bright green kale leaves that make me feel healthier just looking at them, I’ve gone curly kale crazy. I’ve given the crisps a go (pictured below) and they are not only wonderfully delicate and hugely more-ish but also incredibly straightforward to make. I followed a recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen: wash the leaves, dry them thoroughly and cut out any tough stalks; mix with a little oil and salt flakes and bake in an oven at 150˚c for up to 20 minutes, or until they’re crunchy. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also try creating some different flavours, too. One critically important point of note, however, is that baking kale properly stinks your house out.
I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed a couple of handfuls of blanched kale stirred into fried onions, garlic, chilli and served with spaghetti sprinkled with parmesan and toasted pine nuts (below; based on a recipe by Angela Hartnett - I was out of capers and am yet to discover gluten-free Tagliatelle). I’d now like to give curly kale a go in some kind of vegetable soup or a stew and I very definitely have my eye on a tasty-sounding stir-fry with marinated beef and cashews.
The thing is, despite having made myself lunch and baked enough kale crisps to last the rest of the week, I’ve still got another 500kg of the stuff left in the fridge. I’m running short on time before the leaves start turning yellow, so if you have any tried and tested kale recipes – particularly German ones – I’d love it if you shared them.
In the meantime, anyone fancy a kale crisp?