I didn’t eat winter greens as a child. Not because I didn’t like them, I don’t know whether I would have liked them. The real reason was probably because my Taiwanese mother was not used to preparing them. I grew up eating veggies like bok choy, Chinese broccoli, and Napa cabbage. I can’t really remember a time when my mom prepared mustard greens, collard greens, or kale for our dinner table. Don’t get me wrong, my mom is a great cook. Her comfort zone though, lies in asian flavors. I make Chinese food every now and then, but in reality, my cooking leans toward the Mediterranean. One reason for this is because I can’t bring myself to use canola oil, soy sauce and MSG in the quantities that are called for to make Chinese food “taste the way I remember it.” The other is well, a result of growing up in the US.
I can’t remember the first time I had kale. I hardly remember the first time I cooked it myself. I am nearly certain the first time I cooked it was a few years ago while we were in Indiana, and I threw it into a soup as a substitute for Spinach. Since then, I’ve tried preparing winter greens in many dishes, although I still favor adding them to soup. Try it! It makes a wonderful, hearty addition to brothy soups.
I made the sautéed kale that follows as a side dish to the Crispy Chicken P&T. The recipe that follows is very fast, 15-20 minutes max for prep and cooking.
SAUTEED KALE WITH MUSHROOMS AND ONIONS
Yield: 4 servings as a side dish
1 small onion, chopped (preferably a sweet yellow onion)
1 cup roughly sliced mushrooms (I used baby portobello, but button mushrooms will work too)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 cups Kale, leaves only, rinsed and cut into thick ribbons
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
¼ cup white wine
Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add mushrooms. When mushrooms begin releasing liquid, add the garlic. Mix and sauté all of the ingredients.
When the mushrooms are soft and the moisture from the mushrooms and onions is almost entirely evaporated/absorbed, add the red pepper flakes and wine. Stir mixture together for about 1 minute. Add the kale to the pan. It’s okay to add the kale in two separate additions if it won’t all fit in the pan at once. If you do this, add the second batch as soon as the kale as wilted enough to make space for the remainder. Mix all ingredients together.
The kale is ready when it turns bright green and has softened. Remove from heat. Take care not to over cook! If some of the kale begins to turn dark green, it is beginning to over cook! Salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.