Kale is a leafy vegetable related to cabbage. Enjoyed in cuisines all around the world, kale is a versatile green which can be steamed, simmered, braised, stir-fried, roasted or served raw.
Kale has a bitter, peppery flavor, and its leaves can be tough. The leaves are rather tough, but they soften up when cooked slowly with moist heat. You can blanch them very briefly before stir-frying, sautéeing or baking.
The stems are tough and fibrous and are best removed before cooking.
Kale leaves can be curly or flat, depending on the variety. It also comes in various colors, including purple, green and white, although the green cultivars are what are usually used in the culinary arts.
The non green colored kinds are sometimes used for garnish.
Kale is frequently prepared much like collard, mustard or beet greens in the southern U.S. tradition. It's also widely used in soups and stews, baked in casseroles and lasagnas, served with pasta or used as a pizza topping.
Because of its strong flavor, kale can be successfully paired with spicy, sweet, vinegary flavors; it complements ham particularly well.
Kale can be used in place of cabbage, or in addition to cabbage, to make slaw. The leaves can be processed in a food processor and used to make kale pesto, or shredded and sautéed and mixed into mashed potatoes