Cavolo nero

• to grow •

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Plants With A Purpose -

• EVEN IF Cavolo Nero didn’t taste good – and it does when you do han­dle and cook it right – I would grow it for its or­na­men­tal value. I just love the pre­his­toric-look­ing leaves.

• ITS WIN­TER tough­ness! Our kale plants bounced back af­ter a solid 20cm snow­fall and brazened the worst our souther­lies had to throw at us with no • Har­vest­ing can start at any stage of de­vel­op­ment but for best flavour pick af­ter the first frost. Har­vest leaves from the bot­tom of the stem which will leave the re­main­der of the plant look­ing like a palm tree. • Choose firm, deeply coloured-leaves. Smaller leaves are more ten­der and milder in taste and more suit­able for sal­ads. • Kale is best eaten as soon as pos­si­ble af­ter pick­ing – it be­comes bit­ter and strongly flavoured with stor­age. • If stor­ing, keep it in a plas­tic bag and re­move as much air as pos­si­ble – don’t wash the leaves as wa­ter en­cour­ages spoilage. • Any wilt­ing will cause flavour de­te­ri­o­ra­tion. • The rel­a­tively low mois­ture con­tent means kale does not shrink as much as other greens and needs a longer cook­ing time. It is not pleas­ant un­der­cooked and is best served soft. • Most peo­ple cut out the cen­tre stalk as it takes con­sid­er­ably longer to cook than the leaves. • Re­search has shown that boil­ing de­creases the level of the ben­e­fi­cial com­pound sul­foraphane. Steam­ing, mi­crowav­ing or stir-fry­ing on the other hand, re­sults in no sig­nif­i­cant loss. It is de­li­cious steamed and served with a driz­zle of olive oil and salt.

stir-fry kale combo

You can use any kind of kale for this dish, prefer­ably of dif­fer­ent types and colours. I used Cavolo Nero and Squire, and as I had no red kale, I used the leaves and stalks of beetroot in­stead. Serves 4. METHOD Re­move any woody stalks from the kale, cut into bite-sized leaves if large, and wash well. Slice and chop the onion, peel and finely slice the ginger and finely chop the gar­lic. Thinly slice and chop three half cap­sicums, one of each colour. Heat a wok or heavy fry­ing pan, add the oil and when hot, toss in the onion, gar­lic and ginger and stir-fry quickly for 1-2 min­utes. Add the cap­sicum and the still-wet kale and stir-fry for 3-4 min­utes, adding a gen­er­ous grind­ing of pep­per and about ½ tsp of salt to taste. Just be­fore serv­ing, add the av­o­cado oil and the vine­gar, stir once more, then serve.

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