by Karen Small
Kale is a regular in Scottish veg boxes through winter and spring and a brilliant choice for an allotment or veg patch as it’s so easy to grow and very hardy. It’s a vegetable that does everything right; high in fibre, iron, Calcium and Vitamins A and C and it’s so easy to add a chopped handful towards the end of cooking in curries, stir fries, soups and pasta sauces. To prepare remove the tougher inner stalks by slicing down either side with a sharp knife or by snipping off the leaves with kitchen scissors and rinsing the leaves thoroughly. You can still eat the stalks – you might want to finely slice them and add them a little bit earlier to whatever you’re cooking.
This is a super quick recipe making the most of a Fife super food. It makes a really fresh pesto, using any type of kale, this just happened to be red. Adjust the amount of cheese, garlic, chilli and lemon to taste. You can also omit the cheese completely. You’ll need a food processor or hand blender for fastest results, although you could also just finely chop the kale, garlic and chilli and grate the cheese.
Serves 4 – 6
One large bunch of kale, any kind
50g hard strong cheddar cheese, roughly chopped
2 – 3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
One small red chilli (fresh or dried, or a half teaspoon of chilli flakes)
Pinch sea salt
Remove and discard the stalks from the kale, wash leaves well and place in the bowl of a food processor (or the tube of a hand blender). Add the cheese, garlic, oil, lemon juice, chilli, and salt. Pulse until well chopped up and looking like pesto. Check seasoning.
Serve spooned onto warm pasta or mixed through spaghetti (reserve a little of the cooking liquid to help the pesto mix through), as a baked potato filling or on sandwiches or oatcakes.
To keep in the fridge for up to one week, put the pesto in a jar and pour a little more oil on top to seal before putting the lid on. It will also keep well in the freezer – just freeze it in ice cube trays, pop out of the trays into a bag once frozen and store in the freezer for up to three months.