PRODUCE PICKS: KALE IS KING (LOCALLY GROWN)

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Recipe:  Sauteed Sherry Kale

By Greg Dunne

April 19, 2015 (Alpine)--Wow, Easter dinner was good! Most of the dinner was healthy – but maybe I had a bit too much dressing on the salad, or went a little heavy with gravy on the mashed potatoes and then sampled all of the desert items even though I was full. Sautéing some fresh greens this week will be delicious and healthy and will do the trick on getting back to eating healthy.

When talking about fresh greens I think about everything from spinach, collard greens, chard, kale and dandelion greens. The one green I want to focus on is the “new” sensation that more and more people are eating today. The kale family, Red Kale, Green Kale, and Lacinato Kale which also goes by Black Kale, Tuscan Kale, or Dinosaur Kale. It wasn’t long ago when most people only used kale for a garnish, but the dietary benefits of kale has made it popular for cooking and juicing.

Kale is extraordinarily nutritious, a cup provides more than 100 percent of the daily value (“DV”) of vitamins K and A, and 88 percent of the DV for vitamin C. A single cup of raw kale actually contains more vitamin C than an orange. Like other members of the brassica family such as cabbage, collards and Brussels sprouts, kale is a rich source of organosulfur compounds that have beenlinked to cancer prevention. And, Kale is good for the brain. Kale contains folate, a B vitamin that’s key for brain development. Kale is King!

If Kale doesn’t have you too excited, but you’re eating it anyway because of its nutrition, let’s pick a fruit to reward you that’s sweet, juicy and crunchy. In the apple department, there are many favorites of which to choose from. The ones I usually gravitate to are the Fuji’s, Pink Ladies, Pacific Rose, and Honey Crisp. Nevertheless, the Jazz apple can easily be included as one of the best eating apples on the market. Developed in New Zealand, this premium apple is now grown in the state of Washington.

The Jazz apple is a cross between a Braeburn and a Royal Gala apple. The cross was made in 1985 and it launched commercially in 2004. A rosy-red apple, the creamy yellow flesh is dense and juicy with an exceptionally crisp texture. Its flavor is the perfect combination of its parents, a classic low acid sweet-tart apple taste. I particularly like these apples because of their crisp crunchiness and flavor. Jazz apple don’t bruise easily like some apples and store well in the refrigerator, so pick up a few extra when you see them on sale.

Jazz apples hold up well when baked, maintaining both their sweet flavor and crisp texture. Bake into muffins, cakes and bread, or hollow and stuff to make baked apples. An excellent desert apple, the Jazz apple can be added to pies, galettes and tarts. Their sweet-tart flavor will complement savory preparations as well. Roast thick-cut Jazz apple slices along with vegetables or add slices to the cavity of a chicken prior to roasting to add sweetness and moisture. The crisp texture of the Jazz is perfect when used in fresh applications. Add slices to burgers, dice and use in a chopped salad or serve sliced for dipping. The flavor of the Jazz pairs well with caramel, cinnamon, fennel, pork, pear, ginger and cheeses.

Enjoy your fruits and vegetables. Mom was right, eat your vegetables! Fresh deliveries of produce come in daily

Baron’s where I work, is one great source for fresh, healthy greens. At Barons market. We specialize in local grown and organic. The produce clerks (Gabriel Ross in photo) are knowledgeable and are always glad to help and answer any questions.

Here is a quick kale recipe:

Sauteed Sherry Kale

Ingredients
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • Pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 bunch baby kale, stems removed, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1 bunch black kale, stems removed, cut into 1/2-inch lengths
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • Pinch of nutmeg
Directions

Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil, add the garlic cloves and crushed red pepper. Bring the pan to a medium heat and cook the garlic until it gets golden and very aromatic. Remove the garlic and discard.

Add the 2 types of kale and stir to coat with the oil. Season with salt and add the chicken stock. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

Uncover and stir to be sure that the kale is cooked evenly. Let the liquid evaporate. Sprinkle with sherry vinegar and nutmeg. Taste to make sure that the kale is seasoned perfectly.

Greg Dunne has been a produce manager for over 30 years, all here in San Diego County. He's passionate about fruits and vegetables and enjoys his work in the produce department. He can be found taking care of the local, organic and conventional produce at Barons Market in Alpine.