Melanie Johnson has ways to make eating kale a pleasure.
Kale is definitely the vegetable of the moment, but I was growing it long before it became a health food pin-up—I love it. Some people find the coarse texture a little more challenging, however, making this week’s recipe, which leaves it to marinade and soften, is a great one to try.
Tahini-marinaded kale with beetroot and sumac-roasted salmon (serves 4)
60ml apple-cider vinegar
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 red onion, sliced into thin rings
A few sprigs rosemary
A few sprigs thyme
500g whole large salmon fillet
150g Camargue red rice
1tspn toasted black sesame seeds
1tspn chia seeds
100ml Greek yoghurt
50g garlic-and-herb cream cheese
Pea shoots to serve
Remove the stems from the kale and cut it into large pieces and put them in a large freezer bag. Shake together the tahini, vinegar, lemon juice, zest and seasoning in an old jam jar and pour into the bag, massaging the kale so it’s covered in dressing. Leave the bag and its contents in the fridge for about 4 hours.
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350ºF/gas mark 4. After quartering your beetroots, arrange the pieces in an ovenproof dish and drizzle them with olive oil, scattering the onion rings, rosemary and thyme over the top. Roast until tender—about 25 minutes, depending on size.
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Put the salmon in another ovenproof dish and scatter the sumac over it. Roast for 25 minutes. Cook the Camargue red rice as per the instructions on the bag—mine were simply to boil in water for 25 minutes and drain.
To serve, spread the rice out on a large plate. Add the kale pieces and scatter thin slices of beetroot between them. Pour the dressing from the freezer bag over everything and, finally, add the sesame and chia seeds. Serve the salmon with the Greek yoghurt and garlic-and-herb cream cheese, mixed together as a flavoursome sauce, on the side and a scattering of pea shoots.
More ways with kale
Maple-roasted butternut squash with kale-and-cashew pesto
Slice a butternut squash into thin rounds and arrange in an oven-proof dish in an overlapped, single layer. Drizzle with a good glug of maple syrup and repeat with olive oil. Scatter in a thinly sliced red onion, a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme plus seasoning, then cook in a moderately hot oven for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, throw two handfuls of fresh kale (with the stem removed), 100g Parmesan, the juice and zest of a lemon, 50g cashews, 1 clove of garlic and 100ml olive oil in a processor and blitz into a coarse paste Remove the butternut squash from the oven and drizzle with pesto. Serve as a side or as a starter with
a handful of dressed rocket leaves.
Massage olive oil onto kale and scatter sesame seeds over it. Roast in a hot oven for 5–8 minutes or until crisp. Serve immediately.
Raw kale salad
Remove the stalk from two stems of kale and chop finely. Mix tog- ether with a spiralised carrot, a spiralised courgette, finely sliced cabbage, a spoonful of mixed seeds and seasoning. Drizzle with olive oil and apple-cider vinegar and serve immediately with grainy bread.