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Sweet and tender greens

January 17, 2007|Russ Parsons | Times Staff Writer

Peak season

Tuscan kale: One of the vegetables most likely to succeed even in weather such as last weekend's is kale, an extremely hardy cooking green. You can find all sorts of kale at the market these days, including frilly pastel-colored flowering varieties, and rough-edged Russian kale with its red border. But probably the sweetest kale is the one sometimes called Tuscan. It travels under many names, including black kale, cavalo nero and dinosaur kale (for its dark green, somewhat scaly-looking leaf). In Tuscany, it's sometimes called lacinato. Whatever the name, cook it carefully and this is one great green, with a creamy texture and deep, sweet flavor. To get the best out of this kale (or most any other, for that matter), blanch it in plenty of salted boiling water until it is soft. Drain it and squeeze out as much of the water as you can and then stew it gently with olive oil and garlic. It will be good in 10 or 15 minutes, but give it half an hour more or so and it will be great.

Various vendors, $1 per bunch.

-- Russ Parsons

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