Cook Your Kale With Bacon To Infuse It With More Flavor

Kale in pan with bacon
Kale in pan with bacon - Grazziela Bursuc/Getty Images

Kale is, no doubt, an acquired taste. When raw, this cruciferous vegetable takes on a bitter, grassy, and rather unpleasant profile. But, when you cook it in a pan, you'll find that the leaves soften up and the flavor mellows out -- which means that you can just as easily enjoy it in a hearty kale soup recipe or as a side for your favorite chicken entrée.

The key to making kale taste delicious is pairing and cooking it with other flavors and fats to temper its bitterness. One of the best complements to kale's sharp flavor is bacon. Cooking your de-ribbed leaves into a pan with some leftover bacon grease will allow them to soak up the meaty, salty, and umami flavors of the meat. Alternatively, you can start from scratch with raw bacon strips instead; just be sure to remove the slices from the pan before you add your kale to avoid overcooking them. Then, when you're ready to serve your greens, chop up the reserved bacon pieces and use them as a fun, meaty garnish.

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Other Fats To Try Cooking With Kale

Kale leaves with knife
Kale leaves with knife - Nachteule/Getty Images

If you are abstaining from animal products or aren't a fan of the meaty sheen on your lips after eating anything cooked in bacon grease, fear not; there are a multitude of other fats that you can use to cook your greens. One plant-based option that many folks already have in their pantries is coconut oil. It has a relatively neutral flavor and will help your leaves soften as they cook. Another popular fat is olive oil, which has a high smoke point and will add a slightly grassier flavor to your dish. You should use plain olive oil, rather than extra virgin olive oil, for cooking. Save the more flavorful, raw EVOO for drizzling on your kale salad instead.

Eating your greens with fat isn't just important in terms of flavor, it also offers some nutritional benefits. Adding a scant amount of fat to your dark leafy greens will help maximize the absorption of micronutrients like vitamin K. These fats are also highly satiating, so you'll feel more full after eating your side of greens. Plus, has anyone ever complained about eating anything with bacon?

Read the original article on Tasting Table.