Kale, just like its cruciferous cousins, is exceptionally nutritious as well as versatile, lending itself to a wide range of cuisines and cooking techniques. Cautious cooks should know that kale is "almost impossible to overcook," according to Bon Appetit Magazine. Its leaves are substantial enough to hold their texture through long cooking times, while also yielding to a tender stage within minutes, making it difficult to go wrong. This adaptability makes it possible to eliminate the need for oil while still leaving you with plenty of recipe options.
Prepare Kale for Cooking
Rinse whole kale leaves under cold running water to wash away any visible dirt. Transfer the washed leaves to a chopping board.
Cut off the thickest parts of the stems at the base by slicing a V-shape into the leaves with a paring knife.
Slice off the outermost layer of the remaining stems with a vegetable peeler, if they are especially thick.
Slice the trimmed kale leaves into ribbons or pieces, unless you are following a recipe that calls for whole leaves.
Fill a suitably sized pan with cold water and add a pinch of salt.
Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil.
Add chopped kale to the boiling water and cook it for 5 to 10 minutes. If the water starts to boil over, turn the heat down a little.
Drain the kale in a colander or remove it from the boiling water with tongs.
Pour about 2 inches of water into a pan or steamer and heat the water to a simmering point.
Place the steamer basket into the pan and pile the sliced kale into the basket.
Place a lid on the pan and cook the kale, while maintaining a simmering point, for about 5 minutes.
Remove the kale from the pan with tongs.
Add about 1/4 cup of liquid for every two heads of kale to a shallow pan and turn the heat to medium-high. The liquid can include things like stock, a full-flavored beer or hard cider, or water with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar.
Add chopped kale to the pan when the liquid starts to steam. If you wish, add other ingredients such as garlic, sliced onions or carrots, diced apples and canned or fresh tomatoes. Season the kale with salt and pepper.
Cover the pan with a lid and cook on a low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes, or on a medium-high heat for about 15 minutes.
Serve the braised kale with the tasty liquid as a light sauce.