Kale’s sharp increase in popularity over the last few years has led this ruffled vegetable to find its way into many kitchens and recipes, from kale chips to salads to omelettes and, yes, even sous vide.
Like spinach, swiss chard and other collard greens Kale typically loses a lot of moisture during cooking and reduces in size. Using sous vide to cook greens like Kale can allow them to retain their larger, leafier appearance while still softening what’s already a hardy green.
To begin, make sure you have your sous vide machine (see this article for some options) on hand, your vacuum sealer and bags, plus the following:
- 4 large kale leaves, de-veined
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil for tossing
- Balsmic vinegar for tossing, if desired
- Salt and pepper to season
De-veining the kale is extremely important. A lot of the plant’s rigidity comes from the stem. Unlike bok choy, which also has a thick stem and a leafier section, kale’s stem stays stiff and unpalatable. It isn’t easily served on its own even if separated from the leaf and cooked by itself.
Season the kale gently with pepper. Massage the leaves carefully with the smallest amount of olive oil per leaf as you can manage. This last step helps relax the kale and soften it even further when cooking begins. If you’d prefer stiffer leaves then skip this step and go straight to sous vide.
Make sure your water is sitting at 194 °F / 90 °C then cook the kale for no more than seven minutes.
The cook time on most dark greens will be somewhere in this ballpark. Although this doesn’t take much longer than traditional methods of cooking kale rest assured the results are well worth the extra prep.
Once done you can use the kale to finish off stir-fries, in omelettes or even on its own with a little bit of butter as a side. Adding halved walnuts if the kale is on its own is a great way to pack a little extra protein into your side dish while rounding out the meal.