The Problem With Kale, and How to Solve It

Slate's Culture Blog
June 17 2014 12:35 PM

The Problem With Kale, and How to Solve It

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WASHINGTON - MAY 20: Kale chips at Elizabeth's Gone Raw during the weekly five course prix fixe raw dinner on May 20, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images for Girl Behind the Camera)

Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images for Girl Behind the Camera

Is kale overhyped? Sure, but that doesn't mean it's not a great vegetable. Its assertive but not-too-bitter flavor and its sturdy yet delicate texture make it a fine choice for salads, soups, sautés, and casseroles, which is why you now find it in these and other dishes on so many restaurant menus.

But when you try to recreate your favorite kale restaurant dish at home, you run into an obstacle: those stems. Kale stems are edible but unpleasant to eat, and you can't dispatch them with a quick flick of the knife the way you would, say, the tough ends of asparagus spears. Trimming kale requires a slightly more involved technique, but one that is well worth the extra time:

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If you're a kale dilettante, try Slate's recipes for kale salad, kale frittata, or kale and white bean soup. If you're a kale intermediate, consider mixing yourself a kale martini. If you're a kale professional, try Slate's all-kale diet.

L.V. Anderson is a Slate assistant editor. She edits Slate's food and drink sections and writes Brow Beat's recipe column, You're Doing It Wrong. 

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