This flavorful side is inspired by a local favorite – the greens at popular Ithaca tapas restaurant Just a Taste! Although the menu at Just a Taste rotates, you can usually find these on the menu and I can see why. The restaurant version is a little different than ours, but both versions are the perfect holiday (or any time) side dish. Serve this alongside turkey, a roast, or on a vegetable filled plate.
Try this recipe with any variety of kale – in our CSA you’ll find Lacinato, Red Russian, or Curly Green Kale. During the summer months swap out the can of diced tomatoes for big chunks of heirloom tomatoes or try cherry tomatoes. In lieu of shallots you can try minced red onion or loads of garlic (like the original). The tangy cheese and crunch from the pecans really elevates this pile of greens into something special.
There are so many ways you can enjoy kale, baked into chips, massaged in a salad, blitzed into pesto, sautéed, the list goes on. For the thicker curly kale, a braise is my favorite. The leaves soften and break down, especially when paired with something acidic like tomatoes. The sherry vinegar, finishes the dish and balances the earthy flavor of the kale.
Braised Kale with Tomatoes, Blue Cheese, & Pecans
1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 shallots, sliced
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, and cook stirring frequently until the shallots start to wilt and the color fades. Add the greens, tomatoes, and a big pinch of salt. Toss to combine, cover and let simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the greens are softened. Add the sherry vinegar to the pan, and quick uncovered until the liquid evaporates.
While the greens are cooking, toast the nuts. Place the pecans in a small skillet over medium heat. Toast, stirring frequently until they start to darken and smell toasty. Remove from the pan, let cool, and chop into bite size pieces.
Transfer the cooked greens to a platter and top with the nuts and cheese. Serve warm.
*Can be made ahead, just keep the nuts, cheese, and greens separate. Reheat the greens and top just before serving.