Kale is not a commonly available vegetable here in Iqaluit. I think I have only seen it two or three times in all. This week, one of our stores had packages containing very large bunches and some little bags containing just a handful of leaves. As the wife is away in Costa Rica this week, the large bunches would have been too much for me but I grabbed a small bag with the intention of doing something with an Italian flair as an accompaniment to some nice pork cutlets…
The Ingredients could barely be simpler. I used:
- 1 small bunch of Kale
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- 1 ½ tbsp. Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp. White wine
- ½ tsp. each sugar and salt.
For this experiment, I decided to blanch the kale, as this is good preparatory step for many greens. It often helps to tenderize them before the final cooking and it preserves the nice fresh color. To follow the process I used on this occasion, first fill a large bowl with ice-cold water and then bring another pot of salted water to boil. When the water is just starting to bubble, add a tablespoon of oil and then hold the bunch of kale so that the stems are immersed. Keep them there for a good two minutes and then drop the whole bunch in. As soon as they turn a nice bright green, scoop them out and transfer them to the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain well, shaking to remove as much water as possible, and set aside.
As for the garlic, slice the cloves paper-thin. If you are not going to cook right away, the put the slices into your olive oil as this will help keep them fresh and add some flavor to the oil as well.
The Final Execution
First, heat a sauté pan to high and then put in your oil and garlic. Stir rapidly so that the garlic softens but do not let it brown. Next throw in your wine, salt and sugar and as soon as the steam rises, add in the kale. Keep stirring, and when the wine has evaporated and the kale is cooked through and just a little wilted, remove from the heat and plate.
I served this with some breaded pork cutlets along with a few whole mushrooms that I first braised in wine and then finished in a sauté pan with butter, sag and a few drops of lemon juice. When I plated everything, I poured the remaining butter sauce over the mushrooms and pork and garnished with a little sprig of parsley.