Thursday, August 9, 2012

Week 8: Kale (or Chard) Tacos

Sometimes I come across a recipe idea that's so simple, so logical, that I'm a little bit embarrassed that I didn't come up with it myself. Of course, I'm not too embarrassed to share this idea with you now, in case you didn't come up with it either.

Tacos. Brilliant.

Start off by sauteing kale (or chard, but I happened to use kale) with onions and garlic and some spices. Gosh, I do this for almost every kale or chard recipe. Spoon the mixture into tortillas or taco shells, and top with cheese and salsa. That's pretty much it.

Naturally, you can add your own spin to this. Go ahead and caramelize the onions first. Mix in a jalapeno or two. Bump up the protein with black beans. Make a fancy salsa. You get the idea. Or, keep it simple and get dinner on the table in a flash.

Kale (or Chard) Tacos
(Adapted from several Internet sources, which attribute their own adaptations to Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless. This might be the cooking equivalent of "Whisper Down the Lane." Serves 4.)

1 bunch (12 ounces) kale or Swiss chard, stems removed
1-1/2 Tbsp canola oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 cup water or vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste (omit if using salty broth)
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

For serving:
8 to 12 soft corn tortillas (6-inch size) or hard taco shells, warmed (I'm partial to the shells)
About 4 ounces crumbled feta, Mexican queso fresco, or another fresh cheese
Salsa as desired

Slice the kale (or chard) leaves into 1/2-inch ribbons. Heat the oil in a large skillet or a wide Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds, or until the garlic is aromatic, then add the water, salt, cayenne (if using) and the sliced kale/chard leaves. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and cook until the greens are almost tender. (This will take about 8 minutes for kale; 5 minutes for chard.) Uncover the pan, return the heat to medium-high, and cook the greens another minute or two, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Build your tacos with the greens, warm tortillas, cheese, and salsa.

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