Critiques, Cravings and Conundrums From the Madison Food and Dining Scene
Sep 19, 2010
12:20 PMSmall Dishes
I just returned from a trip to Cape Cod, Land of the Lobster Roll; specifically, Provincetown. Like so many former fishing ports in the area, P’town has a significant population descended from immigrants from Portugal. Its Portuguese heritage shows up on local menus from time to time, most often as kale soup (recipe follows). For me, this hearty chowder is a harbinger of a change in weather.
Kale is a form of green cabbage with curly leaves that don’t form a head. Since it actually tastes sweeter if exposed to frost, it’s a popular fall and winter green vegetable, though it’s available at most markets year round. Probably because it’s relatively cheap and often prepared badly (boiled), it’s dismissed by some as cattle fodder. Lately, kale’s reputation has improved since it’s highly nutritious, a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. And, fixed right tastes good!
Growing up in the South, kale was cooked just like other greens (sometime in combination with them): slowly with salt pork or ham hocks. In Ireland, colcannon is a traditional and much loved combination of mashed potatoes and kale. Curly green kale is rarely used raw in salads due to its fibrous nature and strong flavor.
Around here, I most often find kale in front yards—the flowering varieties called “ornamental cabbage.” Lombardino’s, though, makes a fantastic soup called “La Ribollita”—twice-cooked Tuscan bean soup with Lacinato kale. Lacinato (also known as black or dinosaur kale) hales from Italy and is more elongated and bluish green in color than conventional kale. A popular way to prepare Lacinato is to turn it into chips. Tossed with olive oil and baked, the result is a crispy and healthy snack. The Green Owl Café features these addictive kale crisps on its menu. Lacinato—unlike its curly green cousin—is excellent raw in salads (recipe follows).
The reason I most like the change in seasons is it’s a reason to eat something different.
Clem and Ursie’s Kale Soup
This recipe is from Clem and Ursie’s, a popular seafood restaurant in Provincetown that recently closed. Chourico and linguica are types of Portuguese pork sausage and can be hard to find outside of the Northeast, but can be ordered from Furtado’s in Fall River, Massachusetts. An acceptable substitute would be andouille or kielbasa.
2 tablespoons, olive oil
1 pound chourico, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
1 pound linguica, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
1 cup onions, roughly chopped
3 cups boiling potatoes, peeled and diced
3 quarts beef stock
4 cups kale, rinsed, stemmed and chopped into pieces
16-ounce can kidney beans
8-ounce can tomato sauce
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
In a large pot, heat the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chourico, linguica and onions. Season with salt and pepper, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, stock, kale, beans and tomato sauce, and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce to a simmer, add the bay leaves and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off any fat that has risen to the surface.
Italian Lacinato Salad
2 bunches Lacinato kale
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
½ cup finely grated pecorino cheese
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup strained fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup coarse homemade bread crumbs
Trim off the kale stems and discard. Slice kale vertically into ¾-inch-wide strips and transfer to a large salad bowl.
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic the garlic with a pinch of salt into a paste. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl and add the cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the chopped kale and toss thoroughly.
Let the salad sit for 5 minutes, then top with the bread crumbs and serve.
Serves 4 to 6.