By Riki Shore
Everything tastes good with olive oil, salt, garlic and lemon. Even kale. Trust me. If you can’t afford the organic Lacinato kale at the farmer’s market, get the $1.99 bag of tough, mature kale in Trader Joe’s refrigerated case. Even that will taste good in this recipe. I promise.
This one is inspired by the James Beard award-winning chef Andrea Reusing, owner of Lantern in Chapel Hill, NC. Oil, garlic and chile is Reusing’s trifecta of flavor, popping up all over her new cookbook Cooking in the Moment. Her recipes are delicious and completely doable for a home cook, and Lantern turns out some delicious food. I had my 40th birthday dinner there and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
I love chili peppers in (almost) all their forms, but I try to minimize them in my diet for inflammatory reasons. Chili peppers are a nightshade, which has been shown to increase inflammation in the body, something I don’t need more of. So I omitted them from the original recipe and increased the lemon just a smidge. Feel free to play around with the flavors as you make this to suit your taste. You won’t be disappointed.
Here’s everything in the pot, ready for braising:
2 bunches of kale
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves
Kosher salt, to taste
3 long strips lemon zest
1. Cut the kale into 1-inch strips, discarding the ribs. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil. Don’t skimp on this step. You want to blanch the kale in a lot of salted water. When the water boils, add the kale and return to a boil. Time 1 minute, then drain well.
2. Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves.
3. Using the same large pot as in step 1, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the garlic and salt, and cook gently until the garlic is soft, but not browned. Add the kale and lemon zest. Season again with salt. Cover and cook on low about 30 – 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. The kale is finished when it’s tender and still a vibrant dark green.