Market Matters- More Kale Raw and in a Slaw

Spring is in the air. We had some of those April Showers that Bring May Flowers yesterday. Of course this is LA. It doesn’t rain much in April so the same rule applies for March, just without the cute rhyme. Which is fine with me, I don’t really like cute rhymes.

Spring has already sprung here (I do like alliterations) and I have been super busy these past few weeks. I have had my nose stuck in the oven manically working on my cookbook– plus I have been traveling quite a bit. And I have more trips to Arizona and Costa Rica planned this month. So basically I feel I missed winter and all the great things you can find at the Hollywood Farmers Market. So book be damned, I decided to walk my butt down the hill this morning and write myself a good old-fashioned Market Matters post. Gosh, remember when I used to write a Market Matters posts every Sunday? Those were the glory days this little food blog, back when there was time to cook and write whatever I wanted.

But that’s changed. Still, I awoke determined to write a Market Matters post today. But for all my determination what I didn’t have was time enough to come up with an original recipe to feature in that post.

Raw kale SlawBut that didn’t stop this beautiful kale from catching my eye. Where I live kale is a great winter green. I love it in braises and I love it in soups. But for a brief time each season a slightly different sort of kale shows itself. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s developing a bit of a cult status among chefs in the past decade or so. It has a more delicate leaf with a less fibrous stem than the curly stuff you may be used to seeing. When I was at the market this morning I was attracted to it right away. It has a pebbly leaf and is dark greenish-blue. It’s an Italian variety that thankfully grows very well in our “Mediterranean” climate in Southern California. In a nod to its origins, it’s most commonly called Tuscan kale, but I have seen it referred to also as black kale, lacinato and dinosaur kale (presumably due to it’s reptilian, crenulated texture). Tuscan kale has all the great qualities of its sturdier cousin. Most recipes suggest blanching the kale, then reheating it in olive oil or braising it further with a little stock. Which is a great way to go because typically kale is so chewy and so “green” tasting that it really requires a lot of wet heat to be perfectly palatable.

Not Tuscan kale. It has a terrific texture and a nutty taste that is great raw. So today I am bringing it to you raw and in a slaw. Which I have done before, because it brings a fresh attitude to this veggie. But as I said I didn’t have time to come up with something slawish all on my own. So I Googled about and come upon a new (to me) blog called Girl Farm Kitchen. She has many of the same feelings for kale as I do. In fact she guards her kale rather humorously against raccoons by banging pots and pans together in the middle of the night. I suggest you pop over there for a fun read.

Anyway, this is her recipe and my lunch today. GREG

Kale Slaw with Avocado & Almonds serves 6 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 1 bn Tuscan kale
  • 1/4 green cabbage
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 c toasted almonds, chopped

Stack the kale leaves in a tight bunch and slice into thin shreds, starting with the tops. Slice the cabbage into shreds and toss it bit by bit with the kale, adding until the amounts of kale and cabbage are roughly equal.

To make the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, mustard and balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust to your preference, adding more honey for sweetness or more mustard for increased zing. Add oil bit by bit as you whisk until the dressing thickens.

Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine. Pit and peel the avocado, cut into quarters, then slice into small pieces and toss with the salad (the avocado should blend with the dressing, making the slaw creamy). Top salad with chopped almonds and serve.

Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining for The Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBC, Food Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in PanamaCosta Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, The Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or at Homefries Podcast Network.

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  • Look for Greg’s book Savory Pies coming Nov 2012, from Ulysses Press