When kale gets the royal treatment in the hands of
inspired chefs, diners eat it up.
By Laura Taxel
KALE is not a glamour green like
arugula, or as exotic a leaf as mâche or
tatsoi. And it doesn’t rank with spinach or
cabbage as a kitchen staple for pros or
home cooks. Typically relegated to ethnic,
peasant-style preparations, kale rarely
gets a place on fine-dining tables. But
chefs who learn how to coax out its best
qualities will be royally rewarded.
Raw or cooked, kale has a bold, distinctive
flavor, great color and a texture that
can hold up to acids and heat without
going limp or mushy. It thrives in cold
weather—a big plus for farm-to-table chefs
in four-season climates—and is relatively
inexpensive. Health-conscious consumers
are wising up to the fact that kale, high in
antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and
phytochemicals, packs a bigger nutrient
punch than any other single vegetable.
Nutritionist Jonny Bowden, author of The
Most Effective Ways to Live Longer (Fair
Winds Press, 2010), included it on his
list of the 10 foods Americans should be
eating, and his recommendations made it
to the pages of The Wall Street Journal.
Still not convinced that kale should be in
your cooler? Then read on. Four chefs