Kale and hearty: Two ways to prepare kale
People rave about its health benefits, but our chefs are more interested in how it tastes, whether in a simple salad or a ham hock terrine
Gary’s way... kale and ham hock terrine with cornichons and salad cream
VANESSA’S WAY... KALE SALAD WITH TAHINI SOY DRESSING
It seems you are nobody these days unless you’re a kickboxing, clean-eating, kale-juicing junkie. My “A” for effort is my zeal for kale salads. When asked if kale really needs all that massaging, I explain that the challenging, dark green, leafy fibres are broken down by the concentrated acidity in limes and lemons. But I’m no scientist.
For me it is the difference between chewing a woody, indigestible leaf versus chowing down on an appetising salad of vibrant, tender leaves. When laced with a hefty dressing (I use tahini but try peanut butter instead), a kale salad can be very satisfying.
Pomegranates are a luxury, adding an exotic twist, but you can mix and match sultanas, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, grated ginger or nuts and even turn it into a main course salad with fish or chicken.
GARY’S WAY... KALE AND HAM HOCK TERRINE WITH CORNICHONS AND SALAD CREAM
We have all heard about the health benefits of kale, so I am not going to get into all that nonsense. Simply put, if you can read, chances are you have read some sort of spiel about how it turns you into some sort of gym animal.
I am not that guy. I am using it here simply because the stuff is, as we say in Donegal, “clean gorgeous”.
Flash-fried buttery kale folded into buttery mash and bacon is a dish that would make me bench press Big Daddy himself just to get another bowl.
But we are going for something a bit flashier here. I’ve often made this terrine with just bacon and cabbage. Sometimes, I have added whole carrots, chestnut mushrooms and capers. You can, too. Once you have mastered making a terrine, I guarantee you’ll be experimenting with various fillings in order to have as decorative a slice as possible. (Just be sure to cook anything prior to adding it to your terrine.)
The key thing with this terrine is the cooking liquor. That and the quantity you place in your loaf tin and the way in which it is wrapped and pressed. A simple dish is only a simple dish to someone who is extremely comfortable making it, so I won’t discredit the simplicity of this terrine just yet.
Practice will make perfect. Like everything else, it’s amazing how good you get at something the more you practise. Follow every last detail and your terrine is sure to be a success.