Kale Dip is a simple and practical kitchen star

I have been leaning towards repetition in my kitchen. To exist in the social media-driven food space is often to feel compelled by the constant search for novelty: there is always some new restaurant to try or a viral dish to replicate. This inability to sit with familiarity can be exhausting. And so, as an antidote, I’ve been making kale dip more often.

While he certainly wasn’t the first person to put kale in a blender and call it salsa, the chef and six seasons Author Joshua McFadden seems to have introduced a lot of people to the concept of kale dip, myself included. His version, which was published first in his 2017 cookbook and then in the New York Times, start by sautéing garlic in olive oil. The kale is then blanched in boiling water and dripping into a blender, followed by the garlic and oil. McFadden blends it all into a vivid puree, which he adds to the cooked pasta with a little Parm and extra pasta water. It tastes nutritious, healthy, and green, as if the pesto has been washed down with a juice, but also provides the great convenience of a bowl of pasta.

Kale dip, above all else, is practical: it’s an easy way to use up a lot of the green stuff. Kale, spinach, arugula, Swiss chard, broccoli, herbs, or any combination thereof will do, and it doesn’t matter if they’re wilted. As such, I often find myself making kale dip towards the end of the week, when a bunch of kale has yet to be eaten or a bag of parsley I bought too greedily; those fridge stragglers don’t get more exciting with time. That way, the sauce works as a ground reset before refilling the fridge.

While its base remains constant, the kale dip allows for all kinds of modifications. When a recipe is this simple, people feel compelled to add things, as if they don’t trust that goodness can come so easily (admittedly, if you’re stingy with the salt, kale dip can be bland and boring). . Based on comments on McFadden’s recipe, New York Times readers have: mixed with silken tofu (for protein) or mashed avocado (for “more deliciousness”); replaced the kale with broccoli rabe, then added blanched almonds and pecorino romano; added anchovies, or a mixture of ginger, tamari, lemon juice, and sesame oil. One commenter writes that, while good, the recipe “needs” heavy cream, which “turns off the shocking green of the sauce” to appease those who don’t eat “the green stuff.” Out of my own compulsion to modify, I forgot about McFadden’s recipe and created my own: in my blender I put kale, lemon juice, those aforementioned extra herbs, raw garlic instead of cooked (out of place), and loads of of nutritional yeast or nuts instead of Parm.

There are other variations on the theme, like Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s cavolo nero pasta, which uses ricotta and calls for blanching the garlic with the kale rather than boiling it in oil. And kale sauce has cousins, like the broccoli and spinach pasta sauce made popular by social media chef Hailee Catalano, and the green angel hair pasta with garlic butter on the cover of Guardians of the kitchen in loveDeb Perelman’s most recent book.

As all these variations attest, kale dip is neither new nor a secret; instead, it is whatever you want it to be. And no matter how it varies, it’s fundamentally a reminder of simplicity, an overlooked culinary virtue in a social media landscape where more ingredients are matched with good-tasting food. Because it’s so simple, salsa becomes an opportunity to play with technique. Raw kale in a blender doesn’t taste as good to me as lightly blanched, for example, and while a high-speed blender will soften the leaves in seconds, letting them blend for an extra 30 seconds makes for a silkier sauce.

It’s nice to make a dish many times and discover that you’re not bored with it yet, that instead you notice its little subtleties. I recently reduced the sauce to nothing more than kale, pasta water, oil, Parm, and salt, and was surprised to find that it tasted the best I’d had in a long time. It reminded me, once again, why kale sauce is a way of life: everything is used, and even the simplest things are appreciated.

Source link

James D. Brown
James D. Brown
Articles: 9347