Sauteed Kale with Tomatoes

August 6, 2013

Sauteed kale with tomatoes is a favorite late summer dish of mine. The ripe, farm grown tomatoes that show up in August at NYC farmer’s markets make this recipe extra special. And I just love how the balsamic vinegar sweetens the kale and compliments the saltiness of the parmesan cheese.

If you have never worked with kale before, I suggest starting with the most commonly found variety called green curly kale. You want to eat the leafy part, but not the stem that runs most of the way up each leaf. An easy way to do this is to make a “bear claw” with your hand and run it up the length of the leaf. The edible part should easily pull away leaving the stem behind. This is also a test to see how fresh it is. If the kale is old, soft, or wilted this technique will not work. When picking out your kale, look for bright colors, and firm leaves.

Eater’s Note: If you want to make this a complete meal, add some spicy chicken sausage or pork chorizo. Also, remember that the kale will really cook down. When you start, your entire large stock pot will be filled to the brim with kale leaves, but at the end of cooking it should almost fit inside a cereal bowl. I often eat an entire bunch of kale prepared this way for lunch or dinner.

Sauteed Kale with Tomatoes
  • 1 bunch kale - removed from stem, torn into small pieces, washed and dried (a large salad spinner works perfectly).
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic - finely grated with a microplane grater or finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp extral virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil and butter.
  2. When oil is hot, but not burning, add the garlic and tomatoes.
  3. Sautee until the garlic is fragrant and tomatoes are soft, about 2 min.
  4. Add the kale and using a pair of tongs, rotate the bottom leaves to the top. Continue to do this as the kale cooks down, about 5 - 7 minutes.
  5. You want the leaves to be dark green, wilted and tender.
  6. Towards the end of cooking, add the balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, and salt and combine.
Depending on how big your bunch of kale is, you may have to adjust how much oil and butter you use. The proportions for this recipe are for about 5 - 6 big handfuls of kale. If as you are cooking the kale down and it seems very dry, add a bit more oil.