This afternoon, I harvested two varieties of kale — Mars Landing, a wonderful bronzy purple with light green undersides and smooth leaves, which I haven’t cooked with yet, and one of my …
This afternoon, I harvested two varieties of kale — Mars Landing, a wonderful bronzy purple with light green undersides and smooth leaves, which I haven’t cooked with yet, and one of my favorites — the Portuguese Tronchuda Beira, which is tender and beloved for its mild flavor.
Looking for salad ideas, I reached on a high shelf to grab “The Trellis Cookbook” by Marcel Desaulnier; contemporary American cooking in Williamsburg, Virginia, published in 1988 and a signed copy!
I have an affinity for cookbooks from the ’80s through the early 2000s. The authors shared their stories, wisdom, techniques, and cooking philosophies. They don’t feel the need for color pictures on every page, and still trust you have a culinary imagination.
I tire of cooking blog buzz, poorly written recipes, the echo chamber, and endless ads and pop-ups. These cookbooks are old friends and so peaceful.
There was a recipe, near the back, for summer marinated vegetables. Yum, marinating would give me the opportunity to work with my kale duo.
The word marinate alludes to brine, aqua marina — sea water, it was originally used to describe a pickling process. Now, it means to soak foods in a seasoned, often acidic liquid before cooking.
Marinated vegetables cook on the grill or in the oven, both delicious techniques, and the acids in the marinade help “cook” the vegetables through a tenderizing process. This is especially useful for sturdy roots and leaves.
The marinated salads I grew up on were too oily and soggy — while often in modern marinated salads, the marinade coats but never penetrates the denser vegetables.
The first technique is to blanch the vegetables; I use a large, shallow skillet, bring the water to a boil, add salt and blanch for 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the vegetable’s size and shape. A perforated ladle works well to scoop the vegetables out and duck them under cold water. No need to fuss with ice cubes.
By taking the time to blanch, it cooks the vegetables to perfection, yet keeps their crunch and soaks up the marinade flavors with less need for oil. Best of all, blanching creates vibrant colors, whereas just marinating dulls them.
Vegetables to blanch before marinating: onions, summer squash, corn, beets, carrots, peppers, parsley (especially stems), kale, green beans, cabbage, chard, garlic.
The second is to grill or roast the vegetables to a tender bite. The marinade coats the vegetables before roasting, and I add more acid before serving. I roast in the oven at 425 F for 25 minutes. The benefit of this technique, besides incredible flavors, is leftovers. Leftover roasted/grilled marinated vegetables make omelets, sandwiches, salads.
For my kale salad, I’ll blanch the kale, onions, and garlic for a minute, then rinse them in cold water and pat dry. My marinade will feature lemon, black pepper, rosemary, salt, and olive oil. Tomato, kalamata olives, and parmesan cheese will top the salad. Yum, I can’t wait to try it. I’m making roast chicken and potatoes to go with and I’m looking forward to dinner.
Makes four ½ cup servings
1 red onion, sliced into bite-sized pieces
4 cups kale, or one bunch, stemmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus zest
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon black pepper, ground
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 diced fresh salad tomato
½ cup kalamata olives, sliced
⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
Chop the vegetables ahead.
Bring water to a boil in a skillet or pot. Salt (½ teaspoon) the water after it comes to the boil. Add the onions, garlic, and kale and bring it back to a high simmer, time one minute, and remove with a perforated ladle. Run all vegetables under cold water and pat dry.
Grind the salt, rosemary, and pepper together, and in a small food processor or blender, blend with the lemon, zest and oil.
Pour the marinade over the veggies, with the cheese and olives, in a large low salad bowl and allow it to marinate for 20 minutes. Top with diced tomato and serve.
(Sidonie Maroon is the culinary educator at the Food Co-op. Follow Sidonie on The Food Co-op’s Facebook group Cooking with the Co-op. Find more recipes at foodcoop.coop/blog/.)
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