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Old 10-27-2018, 09:19 PM   #1
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Kale question

Every time I eat restaurant prepared kale it always tasted really good. When i try to do the same at home, it is always bitter.

over the past week + Ive had kale at 3 different restaurants and no bitterness at all. All were simply prepared ( Im guessing garlic, olive oil, a little soy sauce). Not sure of the kale was sautéed , pre boiled or steamed.
In all cases it was cut or almost copped to relatively small pieces.
In one case, shiitake mushrooms were added to the mix.

Is there a specific variety , or cooking technique that makes it less bitter?

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Old 10-27-2018, 10:47 PM   #2
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Don't know the answer for you Larry, as I only use kale in Zuppa Toscana soup and I love it in that application, well cooked.
I once ordered what I thought sounded like a great salad made with kale and it was so terrible I couldn't eat it. I boxed it up and brought it home for the Souschef because he'll eat most anything, but it went in the trash.
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Old 10-28-2018, 12:03 AM   #3
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Larry, I make Braised Kale most times as a side dish and it's never bitter, tough or cooked to death. I prefer my veg el dente if you will, a crisp-tender. I start a large pan off with olive oil over med-high heat, add garlic and next chopped Kale (any variety available), tossing it in the oil and garlic to coat. I also add a good grate or five of fresh Nutmeg to all of my "Greens". Then in goes a good broth, vegetable for you or Chicken for me... stir stir stir, cover and simmer slowly until the desired doneness is reached (not long).
IMHO, it comes out delicious and neither DH nor I had eaten Kale prior to us moving here to the mainland, now, we eat it all the time.
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Old 10-28-2018, 12:26 AM   #4
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Here is what I do with kale.

1. I see it in the store.

2. I walk past it.

Works great!

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Old 10-28-2018, 12:31 AM   #5
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I’m no fan of kale either, except in Italian soups, like Kayelle. I’ve noticed, though, that there are a lot of kale varieties. Could it be that the restaurants where you had kale and enjoyed it use a different variety of the leaf? Or baby kale?
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Old 10-28-2018, 01:24 AM   #6
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Good point Joel. I also see there are various types of kale. The kind I use in soup is quite hardy compared to others that look to be more tender.
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Old 10-28-2018, 02:36 AM   #7
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We've tried two of the three main types of kale, curly and black (although I like the name Dinosaur Kale better). I made curly the same way that K-Girl made her kale...and I hope the garbage can liked it that way. We didn't. I also cooked the dinosaur kale in a similar manner. It was OK, nothing worth writing home about. Like Kayelle, I have found that kale works as a green in soup, though. Then again, all greens are good for you in some way or another. I can't see spending way more money on trendy kale than I would for spinach, Swiss chard, or romaine lettuce.
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Old 10-28-2018, 04:13 AM   #8
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Well, Im glad Im not alone here.
Im just baffled that a simple green is giving me so much trouble
As a vegetarian, Im almost embarrassed having to ask this about a simple green I mean, of anyone, I should be the go to person about this, but its just not happening.

If I didnt have it multiple times and liked it each time, I wouldn't have even posted. But clearly Im doing something wrong.

I have put it in soups, not as a main ingredient, but as an additional veggie, and I do like it cause its one of those veggies that hold up in the cooking process. And if not too much, its not overpowering and works well.

But as a side dish of primarily kale, thats where I run into the issue. Maybe Ill try baby kale. Should be more tender, and maybe thats the answer to my question.

Ive also tried multiple varieties, many different ways. Ive even grown it a few times.

I felt like a cow when I was eating it, because I was chewing and chewing and chewing, and it took me forever to break it down , but i actually kinda liked that, in some bizarre way , it was kinda fun.
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Old 10-28-2018, 04:13 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Cooking Goddess View Post
We've tried two of the three main types of kale, curly and black (although I like the name Dinosaur Kale better). I made curly the same way that K-Girl made her kale...and I hope the garbage can liked it that way. We didn't. I also cooked the dinosaur kale in a similar manner. It was OK, nothing worth writing home about. Like Kayelle, I have found that kale works as a green in soup, though. Then again, all greens are good for you in some way or another. I can't see spending way more money on trendy kale than I would for spinach, Swiss chard, or romaine lettuce.
I couldn't sleep, so I got up and had a TastyKake Butterscotch Krimpet and milk... the milk just went in my mouth and out my nose.

There are leafy greens other than kale, that taste good and are good for you, so why has kale become the holy grail of leafy greens?

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Old 10-28-2018, 04:39 AM   #10
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I couldn't sleep, so I got up and had a TastyKake Butterscotch Krimpet and milk... the milk just went in my mouth and out my nose.

There are leafy greens other than kale, that taste good and are good for you, so why has kale become the holy grail of leafy greens?

CD
I was going to say, its 4:30am here and you're behind a few hours, what are yo doing up ?? I guess the Kale Spirits were channeling you.

I'm in agreement. Especially being vegetarian, Im willing to try any veggie. Why kale has become so popular ( from a taste point of view) is beyond me. There are many others that are easier and more predictable to cook, and more universal in their uses, for me, kale doesnt really bring all that much to the party. But, as I mentioned, I have had it several times where it tasted above average ( or at least edible). Honestly, I had the same issue with Broccoli Rabe. I had it twice in restaurants , and it was brilliant. I bought it, cooked it at home, Im not claiming to be the best, most experienced chef. Im not even professionally trained, but Ive been doing it long enough that I can hold my own, and I just couldn't replicate what I had in the restaurant. Its one thing to be a little off. Sure, maybe I missed identifying an ingredient or two, but heck, it shouldn't be inedible. I'm thinking maybe they used broccolini instead of broccoli rabe. Ive had that in the restaurants, basically just thinner, more leggy , not as compact florets version of broccoli. To me, almost like broccoli flavor, with an asparagus kind of consistency ( the stems). But as far as Im concerned, broccoli rabe is the devil vegetable
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Old 10-28-2018, 10:27 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by caseydog View Post
There are leafy greens other than kale, that taste good and are good for you, so why has kale become the holy grail of leafy greens?

CD
It's got better marketing.
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Old 10-28-2018, 10:45 AM   #12
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Larry, greens greens greens.


Keep in mind that all greens have the ability to send out bitterness when attacked by bugs. That's why young greens are less bitter, they haven't had bugs crawling on them eating them (and they haven't gotten mad yet.)


Then, in the fall the temperatures get colder, the bugs go away, and heartier greens get sweeter again. Like collards, they get sweeter after a few frosts. Kale is pretty hearty. See if you can get some local Kale after a few frosts. It might be less bitter now.
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Old 10-28-2018, 10:56 AM   #13
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How to Take the Bitterness out of Greens | De Ma Cuisine

Hope this answers your question.

Pirate's MIL uses this method every time. She passed this tip on to my daughter. My favorite bitter green in escarole in the Wedding Soup. Not a bit of bitterness in it.
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Old 10-28-2018, 03:38 PM   #14
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How to Take the Bitterness out of Greens | De Ma Cuisine

Hope this answers your question.

Pirate's MIL uses this method every time. She passed this tip on to my daughter. My favorite bitter green in escarole in the Wedding Soup. Not a bit of bitterness in it.
Thanks for the tip!
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Old 10-28-2018, 04:00 PM   #15
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I was going to say, its 4:30am here and you're behind a few hours, what are yo doing up ?? I guess the Kale Spirits were channeling you.

I'm in agreement. Especially being vegetarian, Im willing to try any veggie. Why kale has become so popular ( from a taste point of view) is beyond me. There are many others that are easier and more predictable to cook, and more universal in their uses, for me, kale doesnt really bring all that much to the party. But, as I mentioned, I have had it several times where it tasted above average ( or at least edible). Honestly, I had the same issue with Broccoli Rabe. I had it twice in restaurants , and it was brilliant. I bought it, cooked it at home, Im not claiming to be the best, most experienced chef. Im not even professionally trained, but Ive been doing it long enough that I can hold my own, and I just couldn't replicate what I had in the restaurant. Its one thing to be a little off. Sure, maybe I missed identifying an ingredient or two, but heck, it shouldn't be inedible. I'm thinking maybe they used broccolini instead of broccoli rabe. Ive had that in the restaurants, basically just thinner, more leggy , not as compact florets version of broccoli. To me, almost like broccoli flavor, with an asparagus kind of consistency ( the stems). But as far as Im concerned, broccoli rabe is the devil vegetable
What we need in this thread is a deep South Soul Food cook. They have this mojo with things that you would think should never be eaten -- especially leafy greens.

BTW, I love Brussels Sprouts -- cooked by a professional chef with a source of veggies better than the local Kroger. It's just like your kale story.. I can't seem to match it at home.

You could always use the miracle method of cooking that kale -- WITH BACON!!!! (lots of bacon)

CD
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Old 10-28-2018, 04:05 PM   #16
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It's got better marketing.
I am mentally picturing some chefs and advertising people sitting around a table, drinking cocktails at lunch, and somebody saying, "I wonder if we can make kale a trend?"

CD
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Old 10-28-2018, 09:22 PM   #17
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I have the same problem with bok choi. Well, sometimes it's too bitter for my taste in restos.


I thought everyone knew to blanch vegis that might have bitter flavours. I find that it doesn't always work well enough, like with dandelions and several wild greens.
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Old 10-28-2018, 09:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blissful View Post
Larry, greens greens greens.


Keep in mind that all greens have the ability to send out bitterness when attacked by bugs. That's why young greens are less bitter, they haven't had bugs crawling on them eating them (and they haven't gotten mad yet.)


Then, in the fall the temperatures get colder, the bugs go away, and heartier greens get sweeter again. Like collards, they get sweeter after a few frosts. Kale is pretty hearty. See if you can get some local Kale after a few frosts. It might be less bitter now.
You can even just put the kale in the freezer for a few days. That helps.
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Old 10-28-2018, 09:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
I was going to say, its 4:30am here and you're behind a few hours, what are yo doing up ?? I guess the Kale Spirits were channeling you.

I'm in agreement. Especially being vegetarian, Im willing to try any veggie. Why kale has become so popular ( from a taste point of view) is beyond me. There are many others that are easier and more predictable to cook, and more universal in their uses, for me, kale doesnt really bring all that much to the party. But, as I mentioned, I have had it several times where it tasted above average ( or at least edible). Honestly, I had the same issue with Broccoli Rabe. I had it twice in restaurants , and it was brilliant. I bought it, cooked it at home, Im not claiming to be the best, most experienced chef. Im not even professionally trained, but Ive been doing it long enough that I can hold my own, and I just couldn't replicate what I had in the restaurant. Its one thing to be a little off. Sure, maybe I missed identifying an ingredient or two, but heck, it shouldn't be inedible. I'm thinking maybe they used broccolini instead of broccoli rabe. Ive had that in the restaurants, basically just thinner, more leggy , not as compact florets version of broccoli. To me, almost like broccoli flavor, with an asparagus kind of consistency ( the stems). But as far as Im concerned, broccoli rabe is the devil vegetable
Here in Montreal, broccoli rabe goes by the name, rapini. I had some in an Italian resto not long ago. It was really delicious. But, they hadn't cut it up very well. I ended up, unintentionally, with a large wad of rapini in my mouth. A long piece went down my throat unchewed. I had to hide my head under the table and drag it out with my fingers. It was really unpleasant. It will be a while before I try that devil vegetable again. Makes me shudder just remembering it.
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Old 10-28-2018, 11:15 PM   #20
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I love kale. My dad grew it in our garden when I was a kid, and so did I in later years.

In my experience, most greens, even the notoriously bitter ones, aren't so bad if they don't get too much sun and are picked young.

Kale, like almost every other veggie, is exponentially better when eaten within minutes of harvesting.

As far as identifying other greens, are you sure you haven't been eating Yu-choy, a leafy cousin of Bok choy? Especially considering the oriental influences you've mentioned such as soy sauce and shiiitakes, El 'Aurens ?
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