Looking back over what I’ve been eating this winter, I realize it’s been a lot of “glorified such & such.” Glorified peasant breakfast, glorified roasted vegetable puree-as-soup, glorified shit from my fridge.
Then I thought: Wait, when is anything I make not a more or less glorified version of something really basic/dirty/easy/lazy? And furthermore, aren’t these glorified dishes the ones we celebrate the most enthusiastically? The ones we crow about to our friends? “No seriously, this pasta thingy took me 15 minutes to make and I was in the shower for about 10 of them.” How many times have I finished putting up a Shit From My (Whatever) and thought, “You know, in retrospect, that was actually a really lovely dish. I’d totally make it again, but, like, not… accidentally.”
So I guess what I’m saying here is that “glorified” sort of loses its shimmering properties when you realize that all the stuff that comes from your kitchen can be, and probably is, kind of… well, glorious.
It’s in this spirit that I exalt the humble kale green. It seems a lot of folks have been writing about it and cooking with it lately, though it’s certainly not a new thing. Kale is healthy. Kale is tasty. (Kale is cheap.) And, for the lazy-ass I seem to have become in these waning weeks of winter, fresh kale keeps in your fridge for way longer than any other green thing I’ve seen. So at the grocery store last week, I picked up two enormous bunches of lacinato kale all for myself. See, like most greens, kale cooks down to about .0000000001% of its original size (in my highly-scientific and not-at-all-dramatic opinion), and I had been without it for several weeks, so I budgeted one bunch for a fabulous reunion evening in which I singlehandedly devoured an entire bowl of the greens, sauteed and probably garlicky, and one bunch for when I’d use it in smaller, less obsessive quantities.
- 1 bunch kale, rinsed & dried, then chopped into 1- to 2-inch strips. (Some people cut out the rib/stalk thingy that runs through the leaf, but I’ve found it cooks down just about as quickly as the leaves, and that I like the different texture that the stalk brings.)
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- red pepper flakes
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta
- salt & pepper