Lacinto Kale with Lemon and Candied Ginger

November 13th, 2007  |  Published in Kale, Veritable Vegetables, Weeknight Recipes  |  4 Comments

First Seedlings

I awoke this morning before dawn, not a huge feat as the autumn days grow shorter, but somewhat of a rarity for me nonetheless. Showered and coffee in hand, I wandered to the windowsill to check the seeds I’d planted in mini-pots and reused cottage cheese containers four days prior. I was pretty sure I had somehow botched things without knowing, or at least not followed ‘proper’ protocol. I had never started anything from seed, and the idea of starting a winter garden that way seemed like a long shot, or at least a recipe for, well, not having a garden.

My first attempt at a garden produced mediocre results.

Early July after I’d moved from downtown San Francisco to more rural Los Altos Hills, I planted my first ever garden in the 4×6 foot raised bed allotted to me by my landlord. No one had used it in years, and the soil vaguely resembled concrete. I spent an entire saturday digging the bed, adding 15 cubic feet of compost, and planting six corn seedlings, one okra plant, one pepper plant, one tomato seedling, one cucumber plant, and a handful of beet seeds. By early October the garden had yielded exactly four tomatoes, two inedible ant-laden okra pods, two sadly misshapen cucumbers, and one respectable pepper (though this was already on the plant when I bought it, so it doesn’t really count…). Not exactly the bountiful harvest I had hoped for.

So I was pretty much shocked and delighted as I stood at the windowsill in the pre-dawn and saw dozens of tiny green shoots emerging from the soil in two of the five containers–the broccoli and collard greens had sprouted. By the time I got home from work later that day, the three other containers–Lacinto Kale and two types of lettuce– had sprouted as well. My imagined ashy-gray thumb has turned a pale shade of green.

Of all the seeds I started, I’m most looking forward to the Lacinto Kale.

I first experienced Lacinto Kale when I joined a CSA. Since then it’s become my second favorite vegetable, my #1 being the mighty beet. The leaves of Lacinto Kale (also called Dino or Dinosaur Kale) are flatter, more narrow, and have thinner stems than regular curly kale, which honestly, I’d always thought of as a mega-vegetable–you know, one that everyone knows is super healthy, but that few actually eat.

Anyways, Lacinto Kale is delicious and tender, and I encourage you to try it if you haven’t before. In anticipation of my (hopefully bountiful this time) winter garden, I thought I’d provide a recipe that is one of my favorite way to prepare kale. This is a bold dish in which the earthy undertones of kale are complimented by the sweetness of candied ginger and the sourness of lemons. And as a side note: though I love the sweeter meyer lemons that are available here in California, I would not use them in this dish–their lack of sourness causes the dish to lose a whole layer of complexity.

Lacinto Kale with Lemon and Candied Ginger
serves 2-3 as a side dish
Adapted from a Two Small Farms weekly newsletter

  • 1 small bunch Lacinto Kale, any tough stems removed, coarsely chopped
  • about 1 t. olive oil
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 – 1 1/2 t. fresh lemon zest
  • 2 T. crystallized/candied ginger, chopped

Steam the chopped kale in a covered pan until tender but not mushy, about 4 minutes. It will turn a beautiful bright kelly green. (Note: you can either use a steamer basked or simply place 1/4″ of water with kale in a saucepan to steam).

Once Kale is steamed, toss together with all remaining ingredients in a non-reactive bowl.


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