Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lemon Kale Pesto with Nutmeg

Kale is very, very good for our bodies. High in vitamin A, fiber and calcium. It is in season right now, and will continue to be in season, fresh at your market for the winter. But, how often do you buy it? Even I (who really loves kale) get caught in a rut getting creative with kale. A couple of weeks back I made a saute of diced sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and raisins. I threw kale in at the end and I ate two bowls of it for dinner. I seasoned it with rice vinegar and tamari. But, my standby for eating kale and lots of other greens seems to somehow include ginger, olive oil and a hot pan. This has gotten a bit old.
But, before I go on, let me tell you what I love about kale. It is somewhat flavor neutral, and does not have an extremely strong flavor like spinach or chard. This past weekend I saw a recipe in the NY Times for kale pesto. That idea has been floating around my head for two days. I decided to add pecans and nutmeg to mix it up a bit. This morning I made it. Seriously good. Very very good. You can freeze it and use it just like you would pesto. Here are some ideas for using Kale Pesto

1. mixing it with chevre for a dip on Thanksgiving (I will!)
2. putting a spoonful over a grilled white fish
3. putting a spoonful on pasta tossed with butter
4. using it as a ravioli stuffing
5. eating it with a spoon like I am doing while typing this
6. sneak it into any vegetable soup
7. saute it with other vegetables like brussel sprouts or asparagus
8. eat it on a salad
9. put it in an omelet
10. filling for lasagna

I wanted brightness in this kale, so I accentuated the flavors that would bring out the kale and not mask it. I also wanted the flavors to be festive for the season but not overly so. Here is what I came up with...

Lemon Kale Pesto with Nutmeg

1 bunch dino kale or lacinato kale
1/2 heaping cup Parmesan
1/2 heaping cup pecans
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch salt
1-2 tbls. olive oil (I used lemon crush olive oil)
1 tbls. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic minced

Roughly remove stems of kale. Add kale to pot of boiling water. Stir and cook about 45 seconds. Remove and rinse with cold water. Pick up kale with your hands and mold into a ball, squeezing out all the water you can. Really squeeze! Set aside

In a food processor, add the lemon zest, juice, salt, nutmeg, garlic and pecans. Pulse a few times to get it coarsely chopped. Add kale, and pulse while adding olive oil. Taste for salt and add more oil if it is too dry. This should not be oily like pesto. Only add enough oil so it is not dry.
Oh this is a good recipe! Happy Thanksgiving!!!


heather said...

....and I thought I was done with my Thanksgiving shopping until I read this... thanks a lot. :)

ss said...

I have the exact same kale in my capay box! can't wait to try this.

"Diva" said...

love the lemon- i have a similar recipe I do with sage, walnuts and lemon!!!

am from SF and moved to Italy in 1984!

"Diva" said...

love the lemon- i have a similar recipe I do with sage, walnuts and lemon!!!

am from SF and moved to Italy in 1984!

NoL said...

Yum! Caught the link from Heidi's blog & wanted to thank you. I am always on the lookout for kale uses (our CSA in the summer has been very good about supplying us w/ loads every summer) Can't wait to try it out.

Nicole Kellar Munoz said...

Found your site through 101 cookbooks and I am so happy I did! This kale recipe looks great. Kale has such great nutritional value, but can get a little boring. Thanks for showing me how to sass it up!

Desiree Ward said...

This looks so good. Same I love kale but find myself doing the same things with it. Usually it ends up in a smoothie. So I am going to have to try this! Thanks.

bikracer said...

Found your link on Heidi's blog.
Where do you find "lemon crush olive oil"? I have found lemon infused olive oil here in San Luis Obispo but not the former.
This recipe looks wonderful, I'm always looking for new and tasty ways to use Kale. My husband doesn't really like it though he will eat it if I put it in front of him.

Liz2 said...

Thank you for this. My husband is getting really frustrated with my stand-by: roasted kale. I love it, but I have to say that I'm getting a little tired of it too... This sounds like a great use of it.

Jessica said...

Hi everyone! Bikeracer..I buy lemon crush evoo in bulk at whole foods. They also have mandarin crush evoo. I use it for salad dressings, on rice, quinoa. Even on toast! Thank you for your great comments!

dreaminitvegan said...

This pesto looks beautiful! I've never made pesto with kale before.

Oh I found your blog thru Heidi's blog.

Melinda said...

Hi! I also found my way over here from Heidi's blog. I have about 1/2 bunch of kale left over from her Simple Farro & Bean Stew and was wondering what I could do with it. The pesto is calling to me!

Jessica said...

Melinda, you could make the pesto and just readjust the ingredients for a smaller batch..if you need a fix for kale and only have 1/2 a bunch...you could tear the leaves in half, then toss in a small bit of olive oil, smoked paprika and nutritional yeast and bake into kale "chips". Smoked paprika has a great bbq. flavor. Or you could lightly sautee them and put on a piece of sourdough bread, top with great cheese like smoked gouda or gruyere pop in the oven until brown and bubbled. Like croque monsieur except kale instead of ham. Well off the top of my head anyways! Good luck with the last bit of kale

Jeanette said...

Oh my! I made this last night and was eating it by the spoonful. So delicious and bright. Thanks for sharing!

KatharineN said...

Just a heads up - totally works with walnuts instead of pecans.

BarkingMonkey said...

I've never tried kale, as far as I know, but that picture of yours looks delish! I am going to have to try this. The fact that it can be easily frozen is a bonus!

Anonymous said...

This is great. The nutmeg adds a wonderful subtle flavor.

SCLawyer said...

Thanks so much for posting your creative kale recipes. I have more kale in my garden right now than I know what to do with and the same-ol' is getting boring. Will definitely try the ones you have posted!

Jennifer Cote said...

An old friend (Raelynn) mentioned this recipe of yours. What a great idea! I didn't realize kale's milder than chard. I usually end up with so much Swiss chard in the garden (once it's gone to seed, it seems to flourish here). I might have to get some kale and let it go to seed!
Thanks for posting ;)

Anonymous said...

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hello jamie: said...

this sounds delicious and I will be making it right now!

ps> my favourite way to prepare kale is in a skillet with sesame oil, garlic, hot pepper flakes, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Anonymous said...

jessica! so nice to find your blog..this pesto sounds amazing...i will definitely be a follower! hope you are well....mary schwarz

Jessica said...

Aww...Mary!!! So glad you found me! xoxoxo Jessica

Correen said...

Incredible recipe...just reading through the ingredients had my mouth watering as I wrote up the shopping list ;)

Jessica said...

Correen thank you for the compliment! How did the pesto turn out for you?


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