Although the buds on a cruciferous plant are a sign that the crop is about to bolt or go to seed, the leaves still taste bright and sweet, and kale aficionados consider the florets a rare treat. Try some in this recipe from Andrea Reusing’s terrific new cookbook before the ramps take over.
2 bunches kale (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbs. olive oil, plus more for grilling
1 tbs. red-wine vinegar
8 slices rustic sandwich bread
12 ounces crumbly fresh cheese, such as queso blanco or feta, broken into chunks
Pickled chile peppers
Freshly ground black pepper
(1) Stem kale, and tear leaves into small pieces. Working in
batches, blanch the kale in boiling water for 3 minutes, until tender. (2) Use a slotted spoon to transfer each batch to a colander. (3)
Let kale cool, then squeeze with hands to remove excess moisture.
Preheat a panini press. Season the kale with salt. Add the oil, and toss
well. Finish with the vinegar. Lay out 4 slices of the bread and top
with equal parts kale and cheese; add chiles to taste. Season with salt
and pepper, and top with the other slices of bread. Lightly oil the
panini press, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for grilling
the sandwiches. (Note: If you don’t have a panini press, use a large
cast-iron skillet with another pan of the same size or a full tea kettle
to weigh down the sandwiches.) Adapted from Cooking in the Moment, by Andrea Reusing (Clarkson Potter; $35).