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How to chop kale

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I'm a fanatic for cold-weather greens, and kale is one of my favorites. It grows well just before the first frost and just after the last, making it seasonal in most places twice a year and available (if not local) almost all year round.

Kale grows into deep beautiful colors -- purplish red, glowing green and the warm blue lacinato -- that get more brilliant with cooking. It isn't as bitter as other winter greens. When cooked, the leaves hold their shape but go tender, making them perfect for long-simmering soups and stews.
 
 
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Step 1: Wash and dry the kale

No matter how I'm using kale, I usually chop it. Here's what I do:

First I clean it by plunging the whole bunch into a big bowl of cold water. I then spread the leaves out on a large kitchen towel and roll them up into a cylinder. This dries the leaves and gives them a hospitable place to chill until I'm ready to use them.

Step 2: Cut away the stems

For most dishes I fold each leaf in half, then cut away and toss the stems. Sometimes I slice the stems into slivers and use them, too.

Step 3: The cigar roll

Next, working in batches of several leaves, I roll up the leaves like a cigar to consolidate them for easy chopping.

Step 4: Chop the rolls

Finally, I chop across the rolled up leaves, coarsely for longer cooking, and into thin strips for shorter cooking.

Step 5: Cook with kale

I cook kale all kinds of ways. Stirred into stews. Sauteed with white beans and lemon zest. Stir-fried with garlic, ginger and chiles. In soups with chicken, beans and vegetables.

My favorite way to cook kale pares it down to its essence: braised with a little water over medium high heat until tender, about 10 minutes, sprinkled with salt & pepper and red pepper flakes, drizzled with the best olive oil and vinegar in the vicinity, and eaten immediately.
karmineky4 years ago
If you chop kale finely, it's lovely raw in a salad as well!  Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice plus a slight splash of vinegar, toss with salt, pepper, and finish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.  Yum!
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