Kale as Tender as Parsley

Braised kale with pintos and quinoa.

Braised kale with pintos and quinoa.

I ate my kale with pinto beans and quinoa — not a fancy dish, but cheap and nourishing. First I braised the kale with some onion, and since heat softens the flavor of kale, sauteed onion controlled the flavor of the dish. That was all right. I had eaten a lot of the kale raw that afternoon, so I knew what it was trying to say.

IMG_1171When you eat this kale raw, it wants you to know that it shares genus and phylum with cabbage and broccoli. It has that same astringent note you find in cabbage — the one that comes on late, at the back of your mouth, when you’re about to swallow — and the same bright grassiness that makes your mouth kind of curl around raw broccoli.

People say that the stuff in bags marked Kale at grocery stores doesn’t taste like this kale, and apparently the kale that comes in bags has to marinate in something acidic for half an hour before it’s chewable, and apparently the stalks on that kind of kale are so hard that they have to be removed before bagging, or they’ll knock the crowns off your teeth, but I haven’t eaten kale from a bag in so long that I don’t remember if those awful things are true about bag kale or not — Oh, the sweet forgetful bliss of real food!

Come and get your share.

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