Now I have a confession to make. Until recently, the only reason I was buying kale was that somehow it made me feel healthier. Kale was my morning run, the responsible, and sometimes boring, part of me; my pretext for eating more of that mocha ice cream. Other than that, I thought Kale tasted bitter. It was OK, but nothing like my favorites: spinach and Swiss chards. And I’m not even talking about Mohammed’s opinion on the subject. The man rolls his eyes every time I reach for that Frizzy looking green at the market. I think that our aversion with Kale had something to do with my lack of confidence and ideas when cooking this intimidating green.
My mother often tells me this story about the woman who taught her how to turn any kind of greens into an exciting dish. This woman, her name was Ghazielle, which literally translates to little Gazelle. Ghazielle was by no mean petite. She was 6 feet tall, had strong shoulders, a suntanned face, from working in the fields all her childhood, and beautiful, dark kohl eyes. When she wasn’t looking after my younger brother, Ghazielle would sometimes make fresh bread for us. Bending over the gassa* (a large earth ware where you knead bread and make couscous) she would push and fold the dough back and forth until elastic and smooth. Her bread was, and still is, the best homemade bread I’ve ever had. It’s rustic, imperfect in appearance, humble, chewy and so flavorful.
Last weekend, while little angels were napping and tiny tomato plants were being planted, I gave kales a makeover, a Mediterranean meets Algerian makeover, and it was good, surprisingly good. Besides chopping the kale and rinsing it multiple times, the recipe doesn’t take long to put together. Onions are sautéed until happy and translucent, to which you add an herb, garlic and spices mixture. Finely chopped kale are added to mingle with the other ingredients and cooked until silky and tender. Plain yogurt is added at the end to add tanginess and freshness to these greens known for being fairly dry, but bitter and boring they were no more.
Sautéed Kale with Cumin and Smoked Paprika
Recipe: serves 4
- 1 bunch Kale (about 1 pound/500g)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup/250ml parsley sprigs, tightly packed
- 1/2 cup/ 125ml fresh coriander, tightly packed
- 1 tsp freshly ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp plain yogurt
- Salt, black pepper
- lemon wedges
- Oil cured black olives
Strip the kale leaves off their stems and cut away the tough midribs of any large leaves. Chop finely and wash in plenty of water. Drain well.
Chop and pound the parsley, coriander, garlic and 1/4 tsp salt to a paste in a mortar or a food processor.
Heat a large sauté pan and add olive oil and the chopped onion. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the herb paste. Cook 2 minutes stirring and without burning, then add the kale, cumin and smoked paprika, stir to combine, and cover the pan. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the greens are tender. When they are tender, remove the lid and allow any excess water to evaporate. Turn off the heat and stir in the yogurt.
Serve with bread, cured black olives, or any of your favorite olives, and wedges of lemon to squeeze to taste.
B'ssahatkoum! (To your health!)
Chou frisé sauté au cumin et paprika fumée
Recette: Pour 4 personnes
- 1 bouquet de chou frise (500g) ou autre herbe de votre choix comme roquette, épinard...etc.
- 2 cs d'huile d'olive extra vierge
- 1 oignon moyen, haché
- 2 gousses d'ail
- Environ un verre de persil frais
- Environ 1/2 verre de coriandre fraiche
- 1 cc de cumin fraichement moulu
- 1/4 cc de paprika fumée
- 1 cs de yaourt nature
- Sel, Poivre noir
- Des quartiers de citron
- Des olives noires
Retirer les tiges du chou frisé et couper les feuilles finement. Laver abondamment dans de l'eau et bien égoutter.
Hacher le persil, coriandre, ail et /14 cc de sel dans un robot ménager
Faites chauffer l'huile d'olive dans une poêle. Ajouter l'oignon haché et cuire jusqu'à ce qu'il devienne transparent, environ 5 minutes. Ajouter le mélange d'herbes. Cuire pendant 2 minutes tout en remuant et en évitant de le bruler, puis ajouter le chou frisé, le cumin et la paprika fumée, mélanger puis couvrir la poêle. Cuire pendant 15 minutes, ou jusqu'à ce que le chou frisé soit cuit. Quand ce dernier est cuit et tendre, retirer le couvercle et faite réduire l'excès de liquide. Retirer du feu et ajouter le yaourt tout en remuant.
Servir accompagné de pain, d'olives noires et des quartiers de citrons.
B'ssahatkoum! (A votre santé