Yesterday I was watching Kristen Wiig on Good Morning America. You know Kristen is a comedian who was on Saturday Night Live and gained worldwide fame in Bridesmaids. Well she was on GMA joking that she wished she could stop people talking about kale and also that she could not live with out kale.
Kale is a rock star vegetable right now. Once it becomes the subject of two jokes from one comedian it means it has arrived. How did that happen? When I was a kid my southern parents were the only people in our small town of Wilton, CT. to buy kale. They must have gotten it really cheep because no one else knew what it was or why they would want it. I certainly never wanted it after I ate it the cooked-forever-finished-with-vinegar way my Dad made it. It was just another chopped green like collards or mustard greens that I disliked.
Fast forward thirty-five years and kale is all anyone is talking about, eating, cooking and growing these days. Did some farmer mistakenly grow a big ‘ole patch of kale and then hire a PR guy to help him get rid of it? I feel like there is money to be made in promoting the next big craze in vegetables.
Maybe I can invest in some obscure item like sunchokes and start growing them while at the same time creating higher demand for them by inventing fabulous recipes and big time health claims. The price for such an obscure item could go through the roof and I could profit by having a large supply of the rare vegetable.
You know this is what happened with the acai berry. Somebody must have been growing it and said, “I think I can make a lot more money if I could just get this berry a good PR person.” And thus the niche market for veggie and fruit PR was born.
Certainly if there is a PR guy then quickly there will need to be a commodities futures analyst followed quickly on by arbitrage in the vegetable market place. I wonder what it would take to create the next big vegetable craze and knock Kale off its lofty pedestal. I’m on the look out. Keep your eye on my recipes and if you start to see one item appearing more than the other I would consider investing heavily in it. You’d hate to miss the money to be made in veggie futures.
In the spring I made a full fat kale Caesar salad for a charity dinner I was one of the chefs for. It was a huge hit with the guest, most proclaimed kale haters. Unfortunately it was at the end of the spring kale season so I did not get a chance to recreate it in a healthier format.
This week the kale in my fall garden is something the garden steelers (and I am not talking a football team) have not discovered they liked so I decided to make the Caesar Salad in a lighter way.
I planted the curly version of kale, but I think the flatter type would work fine too. The key is to strip the leaves from the stalks and cut it up into very fine bits. This will make four servings as a starter or two giant meal sized salads.
12 big kale leaves – stripped from stalks and minced
2 hard boiled eggs – finely chopped
½ cup shredded Parmesan Cheese – a little less if you are using grated cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
2 T. sherry vinegar
1 t. anchovy paste
1 t. Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 T. olive oil
Make the dressing by putting all the ingredients except the olive oil in small bowl and mixing it together well. Using a whisk, start stirring the dressing and dribbling in a little oil drop by drop. It is not going to be a very creamy dressing because it uses a smaller amount of oil, but it will be perfectly thick and delicious. You will not have a salad drowning in dressing, but the strong flavors all work well together.
Put the kale in a large bowl and pour the dressing over it and toss to coat. Add the egg and cheese and toss and serve.