A while back I wrote about my first experiences with chard. This week I've tried for the first time another of the dark, leafy greens: kale. The curly, firm-bodied leaves were too pretty to pass up at the co-op this weekend, and I chopped some up and added it to the fish chowder I was making. Absolutely wonderful -- how did I wait so long to discover how good this is? It keeps its body after cooking, rather than turning completely limp like spinach, so it added a nice texture as well as a good contrasting color to my soup, which is also filled with local yellow potatoes, carrots and squash. Kale is a member of the cabbage family, and I wondered if the chowder would take on a strong odor, but two days later it doesn't seem to have.
According to a Wikipedia entry, kale is among the most nutritious of vegetables, being high in beta carotene, vitamin C, lutein and zeaxanthin (which I've never even heard of before) and reasonably rich in calcium, and was the most common green vegetable in Europe until the end of the Middle Ages. I like it better than chard. It's going to be a new regular in my kitchen!