January 11, 2011

kale with apple and coriander

It was a Sunday night, and the yogi and I were vaguely hungry. After a filling late brunch, we weren't in the mood for a real dinner, just in need of something light to stave off the awake-with-a-growling-stomach-at-2-am sort of thing. "I have kale," I suggested. The yogi laughed. "I could start a blog called S@*$ My Girlfriend Says, and 'I have kale' would be at the top of the list."

It's true. I love kale. Few are the days when there is not a bunch of it in the fridge (along with collards and broccoli rabe and as many other dark green leafies as will fit in the produce drawer of a little apartment fridge). I love it sauteed or briefly braised with beans or atop a pile of quinoa, sliced into dark ribbons and tossed into a soup, or julienned for a lightly marinated salad (always tender Tuscan kale for salads - I find curly kale too tough to eat raw. And yes, I learned that the hard way).

On this particular evening, when the kale-washing was through, I started looking around for some interesting additions and realized I'd never tried kale with apple before. Thus was born my new favorite way to cook kale: with apple, onion, red chile flakes, and coriander seeds. Try making it for someone who thinks they don't like kale; they'll be converted. Apple and onion go into the pot first, melting together and releasing their sweet juices. The kale braises in this fruity apple-onion liquid, which coats the leaves, taming any bitterness and coaxing everything together. Along with a pinch of red chile flakes for heat and coriander seed for herbal complexity and brightness, this is a perfect example of the simplest ingredients coming together to create something greater than the sum of their parts.

The yogi swooned. Over kale. I never thought I would see the day.

kale with apple and coriander
I used curly kale, but Tuscan or purple kale, collard greens, or escarole would also be lovely.

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (I used a Cortland)
1/4 tsp red chile flakes
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
sea salt
black pepper
1 bunch kale, washed and sliced into 1/2-inch ribbons (remove any thick, fibrous stems before slicing)
  1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a pot over medium heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the onion and apple, along with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Saute for about a minute, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the apple and onion have released their juices and are beginning to soften (about 8 minutes).
  2. Stir in the red chile flakes and coriander, and cook for a minute more. Add the kale, another pinch of salt and pepper, and stir to combine. If it looks too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water. Cover and cook until the kale is tender, about 10 minutes more.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.


  1. I dont know if I can get on board with cooked kale recipes but I do love it in juice drinks. I know its SOOOO good for you :)

  2. Thank you for this keeper! For some reason I read "cardamom" instead of "coriander," and so crushed some in my mortar and pestle. The cardamom packs a much stronger flavor that I HIGHLY recommend in this recipe! My husband said, "That's the best kale dish you've ever made."

  3. Tanya - juice and smoothies are great ways to get some kale, too! I'm sure you're not alone in your preference :)

    Becky - how funny! I love it when a kitchen 'oops' turns into a delicious success. I'll have to try this with cardamom next time!

  4. I love kale a lot. sometimes, I use classic things like garlic & red hot chili pepper with it. Sometimes, not.

    This kale dish looks tip top! Comer over @ my new blog & update your RSs, if you will!

  5. Well now I am torn between your coriander and Becky's cardamom! I love both of those spices and kale, so maybe I'll try them both and report back!