Cabbage and Kale

Baked Crispy Kale

  • 4 handfuls of kale, torn into bite-sized pieces, tough stems removed (about 1/3 lb)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt

091205_crispy-kale_0091. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place the kale leaves into a salad spinner and spin all of the water out of the kale. Dump the water and repeat one or two times more just to make sure that the kale is extra dry. Use a towel to blot any extra water on the leaves. Place the kale on the baking sheet.

3. Drizzle olive oil over the kale leaves and use your hands to toss and coat the leaves. Bake in the oven for 12-20 minutes until leaves are crisp. Take a peek at the 12 minute mark – the timing all depends on how much olive oil you use. Just use a spatula or tongs to touch the leaves, if they are paper-thin crackly, the kale is done. If the leaves are still a bit soft, leave them in for another 2 minutes. Do not let the leaves turn brown (they’ll be burnt and bitter) Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and serve.

The biggest secret to getting the kale super-crisp is to dry them in a salad spinner. If there is moisture on the leaves, the kale will steam, not crisp. Also, do not salt the kale until after they have come out of the oven. If you salt beforehand, the salt will just cause the kale to release moisture…thus steaming instead of crisping.

Braised kale with pancetta

Serves 4

Trim and chop 500g kale.

Fry 150g chopped pancetta with 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan until golden brown.

Stir in the chopped kale, add 100ml chicken or vegetable stock and season well.

Cook over a high heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently, until the kale is wilted and tender.

Taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve.

Delicious with poultry, fish or meat dishes.


Cabbaged Stuffed with Mushroom Leek Stilton and Walnuts

Valentine Warner’s Cabbage Stuffed with Mushrooms, Leeks, Stilton and WalnutsYou will need a 1.5-litre pudding basin and a large lidded pot to fit it in.

  • Serves 4-6
  • 1 large Savoy cabbage
  • Butter
  • 500g collected field mushrooms, blewits and/or girolles (or chestnut mushrooms)
  • 30g butter
  • 2 medium leeks
  • 100g shelled walnuts
  • 200g mild Stilton cheese
  • 3 Medjool dates
  • Large-flaked sea salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  1. Choose a large cabbage. Take the dark green outer leaves off carefully, throwing away as few damaged leaves as possible. Keeping as close to the stalk as you can, cut only the thickest part of it from each leaf, as they need to be kept whole. You’ll need eight or nine leaves.
  2. Bring water to the boil, dip the leaves in for 30 seconds to make them pliable (not to cook them). Remove the leaves from the water with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water. Shake the leaves before laying them on a tray lined with kitchen paper. Layer more paper between the leaves.
  3. Start the mushroom filling. Wipe the mushrooms clean and finely slice them, stalks and all. (Do not use Portobello, as they turn the whole filling an unappetizing colour.) Melt the butter over a medium heat in a frying pan and, when foaming, throw in the mushrooms. Add a good pinch of salt, the nutmeg and plenty of black pepper.  Fry the mushrooms until all the water has evaporated and they begin to catch and take on a rusty brown colour.
  4. While the mushrooms are cooking, finely chop leek, add the leeks to the mushrooms. Mix together and keep on the heat until the leeks are cooked and mixture is dry.  Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6.
  5. Chop the walnuts into small pieces (but not in a blender, or they will turn to dust). Put them on a tray and pop into the oven. Don’t forget them.  When they are golden and smell toasted, they are done. Rub the walnuts lightly in your hands to shed as much of the skin as possible.
  6. Cut the cheese from the rind and crumble it into the cooking leeks and mushrooms. When the cheese is distributed and fully melted, turn off the heat and add the nuts. Stone and chop the dates, add them to the mix and stir in with the nuts. Leave to one side in the pan.
  7. Stuff the leaves with the mushroom mixture and place in a basin, cover with foil.
  8. Bring the pot of water back to a simmer; it should be a third full of water.  Put the basin in the pot, add the lid and steam for 20-30 minutes. Adjust the heat so the water is still simmering even with the lid on. Serve.

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