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March 18th, 2010:

Vegetables Every Day: A Green Leafy Respite to the Bisquick

kale with caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar

KalePlusOnionsVinegarWhen I was deciding what to cook from the Bisquick cookbook, I knew we would need something green and leafy to accompany it. Something healthy, non-processed, made of real food. So I reached for Vegetables Every Day.

This is a very handy cookbook for people who want to add more vegetables to their diet. It’s ChoppingKaleorganized by vegetable, so you can pick something up at the farmers’ market and be confident that you can find some way to prepare it. Each vegetable gets an intro section with general guidance — seasonal availability, how to recognize quality, how to store, basic preparation techniques — and then several more detailed recipes. This is the book that taught me how to roast BrowningOnionsasparagus (which was a revelation). Everyone should have a copy, and use it regularly.

I decided that kale would be a good balance to the beef-and-pancake nonsense, and chose the recipe for kale with caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar. It’s not at all difficult. You stem and chop some kale, then toss it into boiling water with some salt and CaramelizingOnionslet it cook for about 8 minutes, then drain. Then you halve and thinly slice a couple of onions, heat up some olive oil in a skillet, and cook the onions 12-15 minutes or until they’re golden brown. At this point you sprinkle on a bit of sugar and continue to cook them another 10 minutes or so, until they’re very brown and verging on crispy. Now it’s time to add the kale and toss it together KalePlusOnions2well, cooking for 2 minutes or so. Then you pour in a bit of balsamic vinegar and grind on some fresh pepper, and it’s ready to serve.

This dish was wonderful. I’m not sure there is a better smell than onions cooking in olive oil, and the caramelized onion flavor is wonderfully complex, smoky and rich. The kale is still pungent enough to provide a contrast, but not aggressively so. The vinegar adds a nice tart overtone, and if I’m not mistaken it helps make the nutrients in the kale more available to your body.

Verdict: Success. I’m going to make this again, alongside a main dish more worthy of it.