Kale Pesto

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Kale has had some brilliant press lately as a cure-all superfood.  Whoever does its PR deserves one hellova pat on the back.  I mean, it’s a cabbage.  And although delicious, who ever thought that a cabbage could have so much appeal?  Yet somehow kale is everywhere now- in juices, salads, stews and even crisps.  A fad, perhaps, but this leafy veg actually deserves it’s moment in the limelight- it’s full of beta carotene, Vit C, K and calcium.  It has a gorgeous, earthy taste and is genuinely versatile- steam it, bake it, have it stir fried, boiled, juiced or massage it (really) with some olive oil, lime juice and salt for a few minutes to tenderise it, then add pine nuts and cranberries for a salad worthy of a Californian health fanatic. 

I’m putting my two cents in with my  recipe for Kale pesto.  My take has chilli and rosemary in it, for extra punch.  I also bake the garlic and chilli in the oven first as I find this adds a lovely smoky flavour.  This recipe makes a large amount- it should last you all week.  Have it with pasta, gnocchi, drizzled on baked aubergine, roasted sweet potatoes or butternut squash, mixed with a little water for a salad dressing, spread on toasted bread or a homemade pizza, in sandwiches, mixed with mince and made into burgers, stirred through peas with a little goats cheese, in a potato salad, as a dip, dolloped on soup, with white beans, lamb, fish, chicken or swirled through mash.  Your pick.

Frequent readers of this blog (all two of you) will note that there’s been a small change to the way I write recipes- I’ve now added imperial measurements, which I hope will be useful.  

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Kale Pesto

You will need:
200g/7oz kale (approx 1 bag), woody stems removed
4 garlic cloves
2 long red chillies
3 large sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
1 lemon, juice and zest
25g/1/2oz Parmesan, grated
50g/1oz pine nuts, toasted
150ml/5fl oz extra virgin olive oil

Method: 

1.  Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.  Place the garlic cloves (still in their skins) and chilli on a small oven tray and bake for about 20-25 mins, until the chilli is starting to char and the garlic is soft.  Allow to cool completely. 

2.  Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.  Add the kale and simmer until just tender, about 3-5 min.  Drain very well, squeezing out any excess water.

3. Place the kale, rosemary, lemon zest, Parmesan and pine nuts in the bowl of a mixer (or use a handheld blender).  Squeeze the garlic out of their cloves and add these along with the chillies, removing the seed if you like.  Whizz to a paste, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil with the motor running.  Add lemon juice to taste and a little water if very thick. 

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