Gratins, soups, salads and more recipes to make with kale, now in season
What’s in season: Is the kale trend ever going to end? While this popular member of the cabbage family can be found year-round, kale actually prefers colder weather and is generally in season through the winter months. It’s known for its ruffled leaves on long, thick stalks, with colors that include shades of green, soft violet, bright red and hints of blue, depending on the type. Beyond common green kale found at most grocery stores, varieties include frilly flowering kale, red-stemmed Russian kale and Tuscan kale, also known as cavolo nero, black and dinosaur kale.
What to cook: Because the leaves are generally very rough, raw kale should be softened before serving, unless you like to really work on each bite of your salad or slaw. Remove the stems and cook kale, sautéing torn leaves until wilted and tender in olive oil with a touch of garlic as a side. Or slowly simmer kale in soups or stews, or bake in gratins; the lower, longer cooking times bring out the sweeter flavor in the leaves. If serving as part of a salad, massage torn or cut leaves with vinaigrette or oil and salt until the leaves are wilted and tender; this softens the leaves similar to cooking and removes their toughness before serving.
What’s on the horizon: Radishes — the edible roots of the mustard family — are normally in season from late winter through spring. Los Angeles farmers markets recently showcased varieties including French breakfast and Shunkyo, a long, thin radish known for its deep pink coloring and hot-sweet flavoring.
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