If you are growing kale in British Columbia this summer, you will have noticed that the time to harvest is upon us. And you would be right, kale is ready to harvest by August, but it need not absolutely be harvested. As an experiment, I suggest trying to hold off on harvesting some of your kale. The leafy green vegetable, similar to wild cabbage and a bit tougher than your average lettuce, can continue to grow into the winter. In fact, kale can be more flavourful after being exposed to a frost. I would absolutely suggest harvesting some kale now, for it makes a delicious side dish and salad, but I would also suggest attempting to leave some kale in the ground during the winter, as it will continue to grow and can be harvested at any time.
Although a trendy food in our community here in British Columbia, and across the Pacific Coast of North America, kale has been eaten throughout the world for centuries. It is involved in many traditional dishes in countries like Ireland, Scotland, Germany, and the Netherlands. Variations of kale are also found in Africa, Russia, and China. It is commonly used largely because of its easiness to cultivate and its resilient growth habits. As stated previously, it can grow through the winter. Therefore, many kale dishes throughout the world are served traditionally during winter holidays such as Halloween in Ireland and New Years in Denmark.
If you are in Vancouver and are not growing kale but want to taste this tasty green, there are a variety of restaurants serving up delicious and creative dishes involving kale. Tractor, for example, on West 4th, Burrard, and Quebec Street, have put together a delicious kale chicken Caesar salad, as well as a veggie sandwich with kale, peppers, grilled zucchini, tomato, asiago cheese, and a lemon aioli. Fable Kitchen, also located on West 4th, serves a mushroom polenta that involves kale. MeeT, on Main Street and in Gastown, serve a steamed kale with sesame seeds and scallions. MeeT also has multiple salad options that all involve organic kale.
If you did grow your own kale but do not know what to do with it, I must suggest making your own kale Caesar salad. Mama Friesen is a mass kale cultivator and she has come close to perfecting the kale Caesar salad. Her secret? The kale massage. Stay with us, here is the recipe:
2 bunches of kale – washed and dried
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1½ teaspoon minced garlic
6 drops Tabasco sauce
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Anchovy paste (to taste)
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Croutons (store bought or homemade)
To make your dressing: in a food processor, combine your garlic, Tabasco sauce, sea salt, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Process until well mixed and then drizzle in the olive oil to emulsify.
Cut the leaves off the central spine of the kale leaf. Discard the spines. Cut or tear the kale leaves into 1-inch pieces. Perform the kale massage (method below) and let it sit for 30 minutes. Toss with dressing. Sprinkle with croutons and Parmesan.
Kale massage: Sprinkle the cut/torn kale with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt. With your hands, give it all a good rub. Continue to squeeze the kale between your fingers for 3 to 5 minutes. You will see the colour start to change and will hear the kale snapping a little. The longer it sits after the massage the better.
That is all there is to creating a delicious kale Caesar salad. It also keeps better than most dressed salads. If stored in the refrigerator, the kale Caesar salad will keep for 2-3 days.
Kale information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale
Fable Kitchen: http://fablekitchen.ca
Kale Caesar Salad: recipe given with permission from Nancy “Mama” Friesen