The recipe below is actually for grilled kale . . . which I happened to put on a burger . . . because, you guys, I’m seriously cuckoo for kale (especially grilled kale)!
I know, welcome to 2012. But see, I could never really understand how kale went from humble member of the cabbage family to cultural icon. Kale has been cultivated for over 2000 years, Jefferson grew it at Monticello, yet it became the darling of the food world many moons later and almost over night. I mean yes, I’ve had it in smoothies, and my sister makes a bad-ass kale salad, but I just never went cuckoo for kale . . . until I started growing it.
And I only started growing it because we’ve long-entertained the idea of growing for more than ourselves, and I knew kale was what the people want. And now—I’m one of the people! I actually hear myself being one of those people. I talk about it like I personally discovered it, and I can actually hear people rolling their eyes when I go on and on about how I can’t get enough of it. So I decided to write it here too. When did this happen?
Well, it actually happened when I had it grilled alongside a filet and Yukon gold potatoes at a local farm-to-table restaurant. I would have never done this myself. I wouldn’t have even ordered it as a side if I was given an option. But nonetheless, grilled kale found itself on my plate because of some other kale lover, so I ate it.
And I liked it. It was smokey, and crunchy, and salty, and slightly bitter. Maybe even tangy (is there vinegar in here?). It took up juices from the steak and played nicely with the creamy, heavy potato. This is good I remember saying this is really really good. And so, the rest of the night went on where all I could talk about was how much I actually enjoyed the kale. And I finally knew exactly what I was going to do with all of it growing in the garden.
Grill it. And grill it again. Probably more than any sane person would, but it’s usually with steak and potatoes of some sort, so who’s really complaining?
But then, something funny happened. I had this itch to start including kale with everything. Kale pesto. Kale on pizza. Oh? We’re having burgers tonight? Let’s grill some kale as a topping!
So here you have it, a grilled kale burger.
Why on earth would you put kale on a burger? Because you’re crazy. And officially cuckoo for kale. Don’t try and hide it.
What I wasn’t crazy about was its instant rise to fame. Turns out there is an interesting story about who made kale famous and why.
Grilled Tuscan Kale
- 1 bunch kale stems removed
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste (or favorite steak seasoning)
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- Prepare grill for medium-high heat.
- Toss kale with olive oil and seasoning; massage leaves until softened.
- Grill kale, turning often, until wilted and charred, about 2–3 minutes.
- Transfer to bowl and toss with red wine vinegar.