A Tasty BVI Recipe with ‘Greens’
- September 25th, 2013
- in Lifestyle
Get That Chip Off Your Shoulder – A BVI Recipe with ‘greens!’
As part-time residents and charterers return to the Virgin Islands for a new season, they are finding empty refrigerators that need provisioning.
Many of us are creatures of habit, purchasing the same foods every time we provision a boat or stock a pantry. Change up your routine this season and add extra nutrients to your meals. January 1 may be the traditional time for resolving to eat healthier; but I think having an empty fridge is the ideal time to improve your diet.
One item that should be on your grocery list (but probably isn’t yet) is kale—healthy, versatile and boat-friendly leafy greens. For the past year, kale has been a mainstay in my kitchen. To my surprise, it’s become one of my preferred greens for salads.
While I consider myself a reasonably healthy eater and adventurous in the kitchen, for years I was intimidated by kale and had no idea how to prepare these hearty greens. I did not grow up eating kale, and it was a rather mysterious ‘heath food’ to me.
Once I started learning more about kale, it seemed crazy not to eat something so jam-packed with vitamins and nutrients. I strive to eat food that’s good for me and tastes even better. Fortunately, I’ve developed plenty of recipes that feature kale in delicious preparations.
Kale is highly versatile in the kitchen—use it any manner you would use cabbage or spinach, plus many more ways. It can be used raw or cooked and is particularly well-suited to soups, omelets and frittatas, salads and pesto. It can even be made into crunchy chips; my favourite way to prepare it.
Raw kale has a reputation for being tough. True, it is among the heartiest of greens, allowing it to hold its shape in soups and when sautéed. However, there’s a secret to tenderizing raw kale for a salad—‘massaging’ a little oil into the kale with your hands. The pressure will soften the leaves and improve their texture.
Kale is readily available in Virgin Islands’ supermarkets, though it may be hard to find varieties other than the standard curly kale. Choose kale that is vibrant green with no wilted leaves. Look for bunches with smaller leaves, as they will be more tender than larger leaves.
To prepare kale, wash it well, then remove the tough stem that runs lengthwise through each leaf. Another reason to choose kale: it stays fresh much longer than other greens such as romaine or arugula, making kale a yacht-friendly option for salads.
For those hesitant to try this leafy green vegetable, start with kale chips, which I call ‘beginner kale.’ Even the most ardent kale sceptic will find it hard not to love kale when it’s transformed into a crunchy and salty snack.
I recently introduced kale chips to BVI friends who were intrigued, but found it slightly incredulous, that leafy greens could be turned into an addictive snack. After setting out a huge bowl of kale chips, I left the room for a few minutes. When I returned, the chips had nearly vanished and everyone had contented smiles.
Two of the guests were chatting in French, but I understood the gist of their conversation: “Kale chips…très bien…Susie…très bien.” Some form of this exchange—usually in English—seems to happen each time I introduce someone to this snack. Regardless of the language spoken, expect a similar reaction when you introduce your friends to kale chips.
To ensure crispiness, dry the kale thoroughly using a Salad Spinner or layers of towels.
1 bunch of kale, about 8 oz 1 1/2 Tbl sesame oil (or olive oil) 1 1/2 Tbl cider vinegar Salt
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 2. Wash kale. Remove the center ribs and tear kale leaves into pieces. Dry completely. 3. Combine oil and cider vinegar in a large bowl. Stir well with a whisk. 4. Add kale to oil mixture and mix together with your hands. 5. Spread pieces of kale in a single layer on baking sheets coated with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt. 6. Bake for about 10-15 minutes or until crispy, but not starting to brown. Watch closely so the chips don’t overcook.
Kale, Avocado and Pistachio Salad
This substantial salad is my go-to kale salad for lunch. Choose local avocados, if available.
2 Tbl lemon juice 1 1/2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard 2 dashes ground cayenne pepper Salt (to taste) 1 large bunch kale (about 8 oz), center stems removed and leaves torn into pieces 2 small avocadoes, sliced 1/3 c shelled pistachios
To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add the kale. Using your hands, gently work the vinaigrette into the kale leaves. Top with avocado and pistachios. Serves 4.