Do you like used book stores? I am a double winner when it comes to finding cookbooks at this very cool used book store, BookManBookWoman.in Hillsboro Village in Nashville. One recent Sunday I took a friend there and we both got stuck in the cooking section. I sat on a tiny stool and read at least five recipes from The Italian Country Table by Lynne Rosoetto Kasper, also author of the Splendid Table. Incidentally, Lynne hosts a radio show called the Splendid Table and a blog of same name.
I remembered that a years ago, I left my husband standing in line at the Pancake Pantry and ran across the street to happily find a nearly brand new copy of Marcella Hazan’s, Essentials of Classical Italian Cooking. Not only did I make several dishes from that legendary classic cookbook, I learned a lot about Northern Italian cooking. The Italian Country Table seems to be written in much the same spirit. Like Marcella, Lynne explains the food and writes to the reader as if she is standing there in the kitchen. I was captivated because this is the kind of cookbook Iwould write.
I’m not much for braising greens, but, something about the word “melted” seduced me and it was this recipe that hooked me to make the purchase. Melted kale is not really braised kale because it’s not cooked longer than 20 or 30 minutes, or until the water is evaporated.
Melted Tuscan kale, braised with minced onion, is so simple, yet so rewarding in flavor and texture. I took it one step further than the recipe and added in a bit of gelatinous reduced stock (similar to a demi glace) from some recently cooked short ribs. You don’t need that for the recipe, though.
I also use the Tuscan kale also known as dinosaur kale or lacinato kale. I like this a lot better than the curly kale. Just make sure to remove the thick ribs.
I added in some red pepper flakes, which many kale recipes benefit from.
I see so many possibilities with melted Tuscan Kale. Pairing with sausage and eggs comes to mind or a sausage kale sandwich on a crusty roll. This could make also pair well with smashed potatoes or boiled potatoes for a vegetarian dish. Of course, kale loves to share a bowl with white beans and pancetta.
So tell me, do you frequent used book stores and which section draws you in the most?
- 1 bunch of Tuscan kale
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion, minced
- 1 garlic clove
- ¾ water or ½ cup water and ¼ cup concentrated beef stock
- sea salt
- black pepper
- red pepper flakes to taste
- Saute onion until golden in olive oil. Add garlic, saute about a minute.
- Add in chopped kale and ¼ cup water. Simmer until the water evaporates, add another ¼ cup. Add in the concentrated beef stock or just more water. Kale will be braised, but still have body when done. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes.