Imagine Frankensteining kale and Brussels sprouts together
March 16, 2015 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Lollipop Kale Is the Best New Vegetable You’ve Never Heard Of. Lollipop kale is a hybrid of kale and Brussels sprouts that was developed in Britain and is now becoming available in the US and Australia. Branded as "kalettes" in the US, the plant known in Britain as "flower sprouts" is also available as seeds for gardeners who want to give it a try. The first new vegetable in 16 years, it's being brought to the US by the same grower who introduced broccolini (the most recent new vegetable). Like broccolini and broccoflower, lollipop kale is the result of traditional plant breeding and selection.

Most kale recipes can be adapted for kalettes, but here are two to get started with: Lollipop Kale Pesto Pasta (vegetarian) and 1760's Lollipop Kale (not).
posted by Lexica (103 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
So, here's my concern:

1) Brussels sprouts give me SEVERE indigestion. Stomach cramps, bloating, seriously bad gas; even something cooked WITH Brussels Sprouts has that effect.

2) Kale does not have this effect.


Is there any way, save through trial-and-error, for me to ascertain whether I should eat these things?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:53 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do people really like kale enough that they want to mix it with other things?
posted by smackfu at 7:55 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


EC, as the mother of a child who has bizarre and counterintuitive dietary intolerances with effects similar to those you describe: No. There is probably no way to find out other than to try it. It sucks, but there it is.
posted by KathrynT at 8:02 AM on March 16, 2015


Do people really like kale enough that they want to mix it with other things?

Yeah, they really do.
posted by neroli at 8:03 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Aw, they're cute. Like baby bok choy.

I'd try them, but I don't think they're for me. Brussels sprouts make me gag, and kale tastes like you're lost in the wilderness and it was the least poisonous-looking plant you could find.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:04 AM on March 16, 2015 [17 favorites]


I love almost all of the Brassica oleracea cultivars. Load my plate up with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage both purple and green, kai-lan, collard greens and, yes, Brussels sprouts, and I'll be a happy, albeit gassy, man. And yet I've never developed a taste for kale. I find it tough and leathery, and the crinkly texture tickles the roof of my mouth in a disturbing way. Kale chips are an interesting novelty, but otherwise I'd just as soon pass. Why are people so into kale when they could be eating any of its more appetizing cousins?
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:07 AM on March 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


These are delicious, assuming you like both parental vegetables.
posted by skybluepink at 8:07 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


There is no need to "frankenstein" kale and brussels sprouts.

They are already the same species.

Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards, savoy, and kohlrabi are all cutlivars of the species brassica oleracea.

There is some (lots) of cultivation and cross-breeding involved -- as with the many breeds of dogs we see today that are all genetically identical to wolves -- but there's no proper hybridization here. Just unnatural selection.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:11 AM on March 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


Hrm. I've seen these in my local supermarket in the UK, bought them and cooked them a few times, they seem quite nice. I had no idea they were a brand new thing or trendy. I assumed they were just Brussels sprouts that hadn't finished growing yet.

Data point for the Empress: normal Brussels sprouts make me fart like a twisted zeppelin, but these have no effect on my (not particularly beautiful) bottom...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 8:13 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Why are people so into kale when they could be eating any of its more appetizing cousins?

The answer is, as usual with this sort of question: your personal tastes are not the same as some kind of objective ranking. Personally, I like kale, and I don't like cabbage. But I don't think people who love cabbage are crazy or anything.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:13 AM on March 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


Why are people so into kale when they could be eating any of its more appetizing cousins?

Because this week kale is One and broccoli, et al are Herbert.

Reach?
 
posted by Herodios at 8:16 AM on March 16, 2015


I pretty much inhale all leafy greens so you gonna eat that?
posted by Abon Sapi at 8:16 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Why are people so into kale when they could be eating any of its more appetizing cousins?

Because lots of people really dislike brussels sprouts, cabbage - brussels sprouts make me gag.

Whereas kale is very tasty - and if it is tickling your mouth, maybe you need to cook it more? It's much nicer lightly fried with soy sauce & olive oil.
posted by jb at 8:17 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


> Why are people so into kale when they could be eating any of its more appetizing cousins?

Because everyone else likes it and I am a sheeple!

No, I just like it, is all. It tastes good to me, whether it's a salad or chips or cooked. I like its relatives, too. None of them are safe from me.
posted by rtha at 8:18 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just make sure it's heirloom, artisinal kale. To be authentic, y'know.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:18 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


The answer is, as usual with this sort of question: your personal tastes are not the same as some kind of objective ranking.

De gustibus non est disputandum, blah, blah. Seriously, sell me on kale. What am I missing?
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:18 AM on March 16, 2015


Seriously, sell me on kale.

No. Don't eat it.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:21 AM on March 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


Variety.
posted by Abon Sapi at 8:21 AM on March 16, 2015


sell me on kale. What am I missing?

Something which frys up with more substance than spinach, and is cheaper. Collards are more bitter, but nice for a change.
posted by jb at 8:25 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]



And then there's fractal brobrobrobrobrobrobrobrobrobrobroccoli.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:26 AM on March 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


> Seriously, sell me on kale.

Why? Your reasons for not liking it are legit; you're not required to like it. If you really want to like it, you can do the 30-tastes thing (eat something 30 times and if you haven't developed a taste for it by then, shrug and move on); you can go through every kale-related recipe on [somekalerecipes website] or post an askme, but I don't think you're going to be sold on it by reading words on the internet.
posted by rtha at 8:27 AM on March 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


My theory on the kale love is that, as it is newish to most people they did not encounter it when all vegetables were either from a can or boiled to oblivion. Thus they never encountered in it's most crappy tasting version first and developed an aversion to it.

My mother thought she hated asparagus and when I asked her why she said the texture and then I realized she had never had asparagus that wasn't frozen or canned. We gave her the fresh picked lightly steamed variety for dinner once and now she loves it.
Basicly I think people culture wide are having a similar experience with newer (to them) forms of cruciferous vegetables.
posted by The Violet Cypher at 8:27 AM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Lollipop kale is a hybrid of kale and Brussels sprouts

Combined, do they taste less bitter than either do alone?
posted by zarq at 8:27 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kale just seems like leathery lettuce to me.
posted by smackfu at 8:30 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is there any way, save through trial-and-error, for me to ascertain whether I should eat these things?

They are definitely closer in consistency to a curly-leafed kale, but they grow on a stalk like a sprout so. Hard to say? Maybe go in on a few with a friend and just try one?

Combined, do they taste less bitter than either do alone?


Nope, they're full-flavored. I truly expected something milder or sweeter but what it is, is mostly just cuter.
posted by padraigin at 8:31 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


If it weren't for the fact that my sister plants a veritable mountain of kale each year, I would be so, so tempted to order some seeds and grow this in my back garden. Then again, we are a household that loves kale. :)
posted by LN at 8:33 AM on March 16, 2015


fart like a twisted zeppelin

We're not gonna take a whole lotta kale?
 
posted by Herodios at 8:38 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Seriously, sell me on kale. What am I missing?

I suspect that a lot of the "yay kale" movement started with the rise of locavorism; in a lot of the colder climates, if you're going hardcore locavore, kale is one of the few green vegetables that is available to you in the winter. So seriously hardcore locavores who were sick of potatoes and root vegetables and dying for something fresh and green just pounced on whatever they could get - which was kale, most of the time. Et voila.

Me, I like it because there's a couple things I can add it to that I can make when I'm half brain-dead, so I can cook a meal in my sleep and still be all "look, there's a vegetable in it, it's healthy". I keep some pre-cooked kale in my fridge sometimes, along with some tiny frozen meatballs, so when I'm exhausted I can throw a handful of each into a pot of some kind of broth and heat it up and make near-instant Italian Wedding soup; or, I throw it in with a can of white beans, a can of clams, a chopped tomato and some fish stock for another kind of stew. Or, I stir some into mashed potatoes and melt cheese on top and have Irish colcannon instead. I'm not really sure what kale itself even tastes like, but I know what colcannon tastes like and it's in that so there you go.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:40 AM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


love kale, love sprouts, gotta try this
posted by cincinnatus c at 8:41 AM on March 16, 2015


Oh, yeah. Oooh, ahhh, yummy and nutritious and new, that's how it always starts. Then later there's running and screaming...
posted by delfin at 8:41 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, does the word "triffid" mean nothing to any of these scientists?
posted by delfin at 8:42 AM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


Brassicas, previously.
posted by asterix at 8:43 AM on March 16, 2015


What EC says has a lot of truth to it. I got into kale when I started gardening. It's one of the earliest things up in the spring, and produces with insane abundance. So, you start looking for ways to eat it. Before I knew it, I loved it. It's an extremely flexible ingredient - you can eat it raw shaved in salads, roast it, or blanch and stir it into sauces, bean dishes, stir-fries, etc. This week I'm going to try a recipe for using it in pesto. I wasn't "sold" on it as an idea, I began tentatively, but now it's one of my favorite things (as are most other things in that family, with the exception of cabbage). Generally, I like bitter foods, though - bitter chocolate, bitter beer, etc. So I look forward to lollipop kale - why not.
posted by Miko at 8:47 AM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, if you haven't tried Saag Paneer made with kale, you are missing out. :)
posted by LN at 8:50 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kalettes is an awful name. How the hell is it pronounced? Kale etts? Ka lett ees? Kay elts?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:50 AM on March 16, 2015


We got some of these from our CSA last summer. They called them kale sprouts. I thought it was just an accidental cross-pollination event--I had no idea it was the hot new thing. I mostly use kale in salads, and I found the extra work of picking the leaves off of the giant stem annoying, but I thought they basically just tasted like kale.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:53 AM on March 16, 2015


sell me on kale. What am I missing?

It's healthy (darker green food is better for you!), it's cheap (although less so than it used to be), it's very sturdy, and it's really flexible. You can chop it roughly and throw it into your pasta as it cooks and you'll get a nice crunchy bit with the soft pasta; you can braise it in a frying pan with bacon it's all savory and yum; you can throw it in a pot of soup for some green & texture; you can ribbon it for a salad (which makes it less bitter), and even dressed it will keep a day or so (unlike lettuce or spinach); you can make kale chips with it.

I really need to get a garden box and plant some kale this spring, because I go through so much of it, it makes no sense to buy it. It's the easiest dinner for me: sauteed kale with a couple of eggs scrambled into it with feta. Or ribboned kale with tuna & avocado & apple, tossed with lemon & olive oil.

I like brussels sprouts too, so I'll be looking for this new stuff.
posted by suelac at 8:53 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Kalettes is an awful name.

The Velvet Underground's background vocal group, as I recall.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:55 AM on March 16, 2015


As with anything, they are excellent with Sriracha and lime juice.

That's not saying much. I would eat a used biker's jacket if there were Sriracha and lime juice on it. And it would be excellent.
posted by chavenet at 8:57 AM on March 16, 2015


Kale is -- fine. It works well in a soup with a base of potatoes or chickpeas and maybe some added meat. I sometimes use it in a chopped salad (finely sliced), and whizzed into nothingness in a pasta sauce. I just don't jump up and down with joy when I eat it.

My Brassica of choice these days is yu choy. It is addictive as hell when it's stir-fried/steamed with some garlic and chilis. *lightbulb* Maybe I should just try that with my next bunch of kale.
posted by maudlin at 9:01 AM on March 16, 2015


Brassica is the shit.
posted by maryr at 9:05 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


1) Brussels sprouts give me SEVERE indigestion.

If trial and error is not 100% out of the picture, try cooking your lollipop kale with caraway seeds (and a pinch of nutmeg). Caraway seeds usually mitigate the bloating caused by eating brussels sprouts.
posted by snaparapans at 9:06 AM on March 16, 2015


I am so sick of kale. Kale kale kale kale kale kale kale. One of the closest, easiest, most walkable places for me to get lunch is, unfortunately, Whole Foods. I walked in one day and right inside the door there was a woman handing out samples of "kale salsa." What?? Salsa is its own thing. It does not need help from kale. Kale does not need to make an appearance in Every. Single. Consumable. I was in another Whole Foods one time (I actually don't even like Whole Foods; I don't know why I keep finding myself there) and they had fucking KALE GOUDA. That's right -- Gouda, a perfectly lovely and delicious cheese in its own right -- with fucking kale in it. I mean, NO. NO. NO, kale is not so wonderful and special and freaking important to warrant its inclusion in a cheese. A CHEESE.

I am ready for the kale zeitgeist to end. You know what? Mustard greens. Turnip greens. Turnip and mustard greens are tasty and respectable -- and I mean honestly, genuinely, serious and respectable, unlike milquetoast kale. Kale is the hipster of greens. It tries too hard. Kale is the green most likely to wear a motherfucking fedora.

This kale thing has run so far away that it's only a matter of time before people start carrying kale walking sticks as a fashion statement. Whole Foods will start selling non-GMO, humanely sourced kale walking sticks for, like, $129, and will claim that they're not only hip, but essential to spinal health or some shit like that. And you know what? People will buy it -- the walking stick, and the claim.

That day is coming, and no one is bothering to stop it. Just you wait.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:08 AM on March 16, 2015 [23 favorites]


It is addictive as hell when it's stir-fried/steamed with some garlic and chilis. *lightbulb* Maybe I should just try that with my next bunch of kale.

We get a lot of random braising greens through my CSA each year, and there's always something that people haven't tried before and wonder how to cook it. My rule of thumb is usually "when in doubt, saute it with olive oil and garlic"; I've rarely gone wrong that way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:09 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccolini are all delicious vegetables. The trick is to cook them so they are still crunchy and fresh and add lots of oil and salt. (And garlic or chile whatever other flavoring you like.) Kale is particularly good braised, broccolini steamed, and Brussels sprouts roasted in the oven. Now that spinach no longer exists* you have to move on to collard greens, mustard greens, kale.

I can't figure out what to do with Lollipop Kale. The shape seems very awkward. The pictures of prepared food all look like individual leaves; if that's your goal, why not just use regular kale? Depends on the flavor I guess. What's great about Brussels sprouts is the dense little balls you can slice in half and roast, the texture isn't really like anything else you can make bite-size. These little heads are far too loose.

* seriously WTF happened to spinach? All I see in my local San Francisco stores are baby spinach or very occasionally some sad larger leaf lettuce that's still far too tender to be properly cooked.
posted by Nelson at 9:17 AM on March 16, 2015


"Sell me on kale"

Stew! You need a green that starts out tough and turns tender, retaining some texture to give the stew variety. You can use it like cabbage that way, but kale has a very different colour and flavour. Particularly vital in vegetarian stews.

It may not become your favorite, but it complements what's around it in a way you might enjoy.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:20 AM on March 16, 2015


Considering that some of the best bits of roasted Brussels sprouts are the larger leaves that fall off and get all crispy and dark, I would expect that roasting these "fluffier" sprouts would result in even more of those bits of awesomeness. Woot!

(Also, mudpuppie, I blame you for my latest coughing fit brought on by laughing. Stop that!)
posted by blurker at 9:22 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


There is no need to "frankenstein" kale and brussels sprouts.

They are already the same species.


I feel compelled to point out that Frankenstein was also made from organisms that were all the same species.
posted by XMLicious at 9:23 AM on March 16, 2015 [22 favorites]


I like kale best in soups and stews. It's tough, so it doesn't dissolve badly or go to mush, it's not particularly flavorful so it doesn't impart much more than a nice mild anisey component to my soup, but it's also pleasantly green and vastly improves the appearance of the soup. Spinach is also good but it has its own (excellent) flavor, which tends to overwhelm things. I use collards interchangeably with kale, and I actually preferentially go with collards because they're a little less irritating to de-stem. Plus they're a little easier to find in good quality in my area. My partner insists roasted kale is great on pizza too, but I'd much rather put spinach on mine.

That said, of the brassicas, broccoli and cabbage are unquestionably my favorites. Poor cabbage doesn't get any love.
posted by sciatrix at 9:25 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Raw kale becomes perfectly edible if you let it sit in vinaigrette overnight. The fibrousness goes away. It's like lettuce, but even healthier. I had it at Bergen Hill restaurant in Brooklyn with cherry tomatoes and it was so good.
posted by Dragonness at 9:25 AM on March 16, 2015


Just make sure it's heirloom, artisinal kale. To be authentic, y'know.

I only eat kale which has been salvaged from abandoned Pizza Hut salad bars where it was used as inedible decoration. It is the most authentic food that has ever been or could ever be.
posted by Copronymus at 9:26 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why does Grubstreet think this is new? It's been on restaurant menus in LA for a couple of years, and you can buy it at various markets and online. Recipe.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:29 AM on March 16, 2015


I am well aware of the absurdity I am about to type, but the reason you texture-of-kale-averse people complain it is leathery or tough is because you're not massaging it. You should try massaging your kale. I know.
posted by atomicstone at 9:36 AM on March 16, 2015


I feel compelled to point out that Frankenstein was also made from organisms that were all the same species.

And so was the creature he built.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:38 AM on March 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


the reason you texture-of-kale-averse people complain it is leathery or tough is because you're not massaging it. You should try massaging your kale.

I note that in that same article, someone reports having the same results from blanching the kale leaves for "two seconds" - which you can probably also do by washing the kale in hot water rather than cold. And that'd certainly be a hell of a lot easier.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:41 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well I guess you hot pocketters aren't going to buy it.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 9:45 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, fine, EC, but then I don't get to exhort people to rub down their kale. And I think we all lose then.
posted by atomicstone at 9:46 AM on March 16, 2015


What you get up to in the privacy of your own kitchen is entirely your business.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:55 AM on March 16, 2015


I don't like kale but these are SO CUTE I'm willing to try them.

/tweegan
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:17 AM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Bizarrely, kale is one of the only brassicas I can eat cooked. While I love me some collard, turnip, mustard, beet, dandelions, spinach, baby skunk cabbage greens and even fern fiddleheads, the major brassicas - nope nope nope. I get nauseous smelling brassicas cooking or fermenting, particularly european cabbage variants. I once woke from a nap all ready throwing up, to discover folks downstairs had been merely stirring their ripe kimchi.
However, pefectly fresh, slivered/shredded finely and marinated, I can eat most brassicas, so whatever the issue is, I'm not allergic to them.
posted by Dreidl at 10:27 AM on March 16, 2015


I saw these in Trader Joe's the other week (I think they're calling them kale sprouts) and decided to try them because I love both kale and brussels sprouts. I sauteed them in some olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and they were delicious. I didn't find them too bitter at all. They had a nicely nutty flavor, and the outer leaves got deliciously crispy. They are sort of awkwardly formed what with the kale-like leaves plus the little nugget of brussel sprout-ness, but I find this gives me the maximum of things I like about both kale and brussels sprouts.
posted by yasaman at 10:36 AM on March 16, 2015


Don't drink too much kale juice though; as always, the dose makes the poison. (OSU article on health effects of cruciferous vegetables).
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:42 AM on March 16, 2015


Poor cabbage doesn't get any love.

I recently had a lasagna made with cabbage. Bog standard lasagna--meat sauce, buncha cheese--but instead of noodles, blanched cabbage leaves. I cannot even explain how incredibly delicious it was.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:43 AM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


I make a kale and brown rice gratin that, despite sounding like the sort of thing that would be pressed on you by deeply sincere, conflict-averse people in earth shoes, is in fact outrageously wonderful to eat. (The secret is the butter, shallots, whole milk, and eight ounces of Beecher's extra-sharp cheese.) And if you like cabbage, try braising it in about a half a cup of apple cider (not cider vinegar, but unfermented apple cider) with salt, pepper, dijon mustard, and caraway seeds. I served that at a dinner with guests once and we all ended up eating the leftovers straight out of the pan.
posted by KathrynT at 10:48 AM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


I recently had a lasagna made with cabbage. Bog standard lasagna--meat sauce, buncha cheese--but instead of noodles, blanched cabbage leaves.

Cabbage, ground beef and tomato sauce? Sounds like good old-fashioned stuffed cabbage to me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:57 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well yeah, but Italian flavour palette, not Eastern Euro.

It was so good. Like, third helping good.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:20 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


We are generally in strong favour of kale, it being one of the few green veg that will last in an Eastern Ontario garden through November, as mentioned up thread. It's incredibly easy to grow, animal resistant and even hardier than chard, which is saying something. It s kinda a pain the ass to prepare though, what with the deveining (not really veins) that you need to do to eat it raw (which you can't do with chard either).

I've been advised already that we're going to try kalettes this year, so we'll see how that goes. I really like the idea of kale without some of its downsides.
posted by bonehead at 11:39 AM on March 16, 2015


I can't figure out what to do with Lollipop Kale.

As I said above, kale is a fair bit of time to prep to eat raw, or even make into oven chips. The large leaves have a rib structure that you need to cut out, which, while not hard, takes a fair bit of time for each leaf. Lollipop kale looks like it has much less woodier stems than full size kale. This, then, looks like a really great salad green to me, something with the structure of parsley, bitter, but not overpoweringly so.
posted by bonehead at 11:44 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


> The large leaves have a rib structure that you need to cut out, which, while not hard, takes a fair bit of time for each leaf.

Protip: Put your hand around the sturdy end of the stem and "zip" the leaf off of the rib.

As someone who likes all of the brassicas I think that kale sprouts sound delicious. But with expensive seeds, easy-to-bolt plants, AND pricey in the produce aisle...this would be firmly in the category of a "rare splurge" ingredient for me, like fiddleheads.
posted by desuetude at 12:59 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


You don't have to cut out the rib from the kale leaf, just pinch and pull like this.
posted by peeedro at 1:01 PM on March 16, 2015


I remember doing an experiment in science class years and years ago, where we touched our tongues to little pieces of litmus paper, and...I forget how, exactly, but apparently I had the type of tongue that couldn't appreciate the flavors of the brassica family. Which made sense - most of them taste to me like faintly bitter cardboard. Nevertheless, I've been eating kale for something like 25 or 30 years because it's the least objectionable member of the bunch. Cooked up just right, it has body without being leathery or slimy.

Brussels sprouts were tougher for me to learn to love. But I made my peace with them just a few years ago when I learned to cook them with olive oil, onions, garlic, and bacon or pancetta, browning them in a frying pan or roasting them in the oven. That seems to drive out most of the bitterness and leave it savory and with still just a bit of crunch.

YM, of course, MV.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:09 PM on March 16, 2015


Protip: Put your hand around the sturdy end of the stem and "zip" the leaf off of the rib.

Another protip: The stems of most hearty greens are perfectly edible if you chop them into, say, 1/4" rounds. They'll cook up tender.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:32 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


When browning Brussels sprouts, you can also throw in some walnuts, instead of bacon/pancetta.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:34 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also, does the word "triffid" mean nothing to any of these scientists?

"What the fuck's a triffid?"

(Sorry. Had to be done.)

Also, in Kale v. Brussels sprout, count me in on Team Brussels Sprout. I am skeptical of these things.
posted by yeolcoatl at 1:49 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I love any and all brassica vegetables but I hate broccolini. So the kale sprouts look adorable but I am doubtful.
posted by jaguar at 2:07 PM on March 16, 2015


walnuts, instead of along with bacon/pancetta

FTFY.
:)
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:24 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Brussels sprouts were tougher for me to learn to love. But I made my peace with them just a few years ago

This may be apocryphal, but I seem to recall reading that thanks to clever breeding, today's Brussels sprouts are objectively better than those of thirty or forty years ago.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:12 PM on March 16, 2015


"Chef Michael Voltaggio's dish of crispy pig ears with lardo and lollipop kale"

Normally, I love words. But, these words...in this order? Nope. Cannot abide.
posted by mrjohnmuller at 3:23 PM on March 16, 2015


Would you prefer them rearranged into "crispy kale, lardo and pig ear lollipops"?
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:37 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you want to balance it with another overused bougie signifier imbued with quasi-mystical bullshit, I hear it's good with bacon.

(One tip for kale [and all bitter greens]: If you soak them first, they become less bitter. Most crinkly kale holds up well to the soaking, but all greens benefit from a post-soak spin.)
posted by klangklangston at 4:38 PM on March 16, 2015


I never liked brussels sprouts (my parents found them anathema after growing up on canned brussels), but once I found out that they caramelize deliciously when roasted, it became an easy thing to halve 'em and toss 'em into a pan with some olive oil, onions, salt and pepper for half an hour and boom, delicious.
posted by klangklangston at 4:40 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Obligatory.
posted by gingerest at 5:08 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


i like kale and all but it's no Swiss Chard
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 6:01 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Remember a few years back when Whole Foods grocery bags had "Collards are the new kale" printed on them?
posted by Abon Sapi at 6:23 PM on March 16, 2015


The latest Lexicon Valley is about the suffix "...ette" and other diminutive/feminizing suffixes.

I assume the Kale-ette is the baby kale, not the female Kale. Whatever it is, it looks delicious!
posted by latkes at 7:21 PM on March 16, 2015


This kale thing has run so far away that it's only a matter of time before people start carrying kale walking sticks
I can probably take some blame for that.
posted by unliteral at 8:19 PM on March 16, 2015


sell me on kale. What am I missing?

I think kale holds up better in soups than other leafy greens; that's about all I use it for. I am a brassica addict, but kale is just too *shrug* for me.
posted by mythical anthropomorphic amphibian at 10:52 PM on March 16, 2015


Another protip: The stems of most hearty greens are perfectly edible if you chop them into, say, 1/4" rounds. They'll cook up tender.

Yes - and they make a good, non-starchy addition to soups and stews. I had a friend who made kale chips; I would take home just the stems (otherwise she wasted them).
posted by jb at 11:21 AM on March 17, 2015


I was surprised to discover a new vegetable in the store this week. Had no idea it was actually a new vegetable. It also never occurred to me a "kale sprout" wasn't the descriptive name for baby kale. I was very surprised baby kale tasted so very different from adult kale. Now it all makes sense.

In short, tasty vegetable, terrible name.

I'm going to call them Brales.
posted by eotvos at 12:09 PM on March 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


The stems are also useful for making a riff on pesto.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:57 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


See, that's one of those places where I feel like the "SELL ME ON" guy — I can't think of ever having an alternate "pesto" that didn't just make me feel annoyed.

It's not like I'm against green sauces — I like gremolatas and persilladas, even chimichuris and Italian salsa verde (Mexican salsa verde, which I also like very much, is its own thing), but when someone says "pesto," I expect that balance of basil and garlic at the very least. Not only that, but the places that I've been most likely to have an alt-pesto have done that thing where they just substitute it in with whatever pasta without thinking about it as a different flavor profile. (My hunch is that I'm particularly sensitive to this because of the general healthful translation of cooking into vegetarian, where so much ends up bland because people don't know how to cook without meat.)

I'm also the weirdo with the hangup about hummuses too, like, NO GARBANZOS NO PEACE.
posted by klangklangston at 5:50 PM on March 17, 2015 [4 favorites]


Something I learned about just today, to my great displeasure: the kaletini. Sheesh.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:22 PM on March 17, 2015


I just chowed down on a dinner that was mostly sauteed kale (curly and dino) and garlic with some leftover carnitas, and that -tini sounds epically dumb. But I am something of a Martini purist.
posted by rtha at 8:40 PM on March 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


kaletini

That person can just fuck right off. You can garnish a martini with kale, I suppose, if you are broken and wrong. You can't call something that includes neither gin nor vermouth a motherfucking mar-fucking-tini, you repellent clod.

I have Opinions.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:44 AM on March 18, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm prepared to accept a more catholic version of a martini. I'm not a purist, much, but a martini better darn well have a bitter liqueur in there, preferably a wine-based one. That's what the drink is named for, a brand of vermouth.

If you don't have a vermothish spirit in the drink (or, to allow Churchill the dignity of not just drinking straight shots of gin, have been waved near), it ain't in the same family. That's a vodka cooler in a martini glass, closer to a seabreeze with kale (and mint), rather than the neutral spirit-herbed wine infusion that is a martini.

At the end of the day (at the bar) words do have to mean something. A funky glass doesn't make a drink.
posted by bonehead at 11:13 AM on March 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


Shhh. No one tell fffm about the cilantro-tini.
posted by zarq at 11:26 AM on March 18, 2015


Walnuts, fresh, make a great pesto with spinach, but I would need to be convinced of kale pesto. It makes fine greens, but I think it's too bitter for most pastas.
posted by bonehead at 11:27 AM on March 18, 2015




I make a "pesto" except I don't call it that with kale, smoked tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil. The smoked tomatoes make it. Toss it with whole wheat pasta, top it with roasted pine nuts, and it's amazing.
posted by KathrynT at 11:31 AM on March 18, 2015


Okay, next time I can get to my smoker (it's currently trapped behind some construction-related stuff because my downstairs neighbors are having some renovations done) I am smoking the heck out of some tomatoes (and onions - gotta remember onions next time).
posted by rtha at 12:28 PM on March 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


Cucumber Cilantro 'Tini with Organic Rain Cucumber Vodka, fresh cucumber & cilantro, agave nectar, fresh lime

die in a motherfucking fire

rtha, also mushrooms. Smoked mushrooms are delightful.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:18 PM on March 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


die in a motherfucking fire

It's a salad martini. Very healthy.

*ducks*
posted by zarq at 1:29 PM on March 18, 2015


Hey, there's nothing wrong with a salad drink. Our national tipple is one (with extra clams), and a better breakfast-in-a-highball-glass you won't find.

It's just not a martini.
posted by bonehead at 1:31 PM on March 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


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