Sunday, October 24, 2010

On the Side: Kale Sautéed with Garlic, Red Onion & Pecans

I'm always up for trying new ingredients (especially ones I feel somewhat embarrassed to have never tried before).  Take kale for instance- it's not exactly the most exotic of ingredients, yet up until this weekend it was somewhat foreign to me.  One thing I did know: it is often prepared similarly to spinach.  Well I love spinach in any preparation so naturally I should love its slightly over-looked leafy, green friend too, right?  My culinary logic seemed correct in theory, and happily proved incredibly successful in practice as well!  It's official, I'm a total kale convert.  And hopefully after you try this delicious side dish, I'll make one out of you too!

1 large bunch of kale (I suggest going organic for leafy greens like these)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 small red onion, diced
1 1/2 tbsp. chopped, roasted pecans
Squeeze of lemon juice to finish
Salt and pepper, to taste

Begin by washing the kale and cutting off the bottom of the stems.  Estimate about 4-5 large leaves for one serving. Begin heating the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant.  Add red onion to your garlic-infused oil to soften the onions and enhance their sweetness.  Slice kale into thin ribbons and add to pan, stirring frequently.  Kale is a significantly heartier green than spinach, so it will take a bit longer to wilt down.  Just make sure to keep an eye on it and stir the pan consistently to avoid any unfriendly burnt flavoring. When wilted, reduce the heat to low and give the pan a quick squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of salt and pepper.  Transfer into a serving dish and sprinkle with chopped pecans to finish.
Yep, it's just as easy as that.  I prepared this recipe for just me though, so keep that in mind when adjusting the recipe to serve a group.  And experiment- you may choose to use more or less oil, depending on your preference.  Just make sure there's an adequate amount of oil in the pan to help wilt the kale.  And if you choose to pack up some leftovers for a workday lunch side (I know I plan to!), just make sure to bag the pecans separately and add them after reheating the kale.  That perfect little crunchy element from the pecans is so key!

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