Kale (and salads) got a bad rap this week on the premiere episode of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption. On the beach of Paradise Cove, where the chefs were first challenged with their redemption ingredient that got them eliminated in a previous season, Chef Tim Love made kale famous not once, but twice. In a kale salad the judges deemed too simple and oily, Chef Love found himself in the bottom two with Chef Mendelsohn. In an effort to redeem himself to the judges and show them he knows how to cook kale, he prepared it once more fried. That wasn’t enough to save him, however, and he was the first chef to return home in this new season.
In defense of this vegetable, we’ve rounded up Food Network’s top five kale recipes that we think would win the judges over for sure:
5. Turkey, Kale and Brown Rice Soup – Add a new soup to your go-to list. Ground turkey is sauteed with shallots, carrots and bell pepper, then mixed with kale and brown rice and finally topped with shavings of Parmesan.
4. Spicy Parmesan Green Beans and Kale – Meaty and flavorful cremini mushrooms come together with crunchy green beans and kale in this simple side dish whose rustic flavor comes from sweet sauteed onions and white wine. Red pepper flakes give it an added kick.
3. Portuguese Chourico and Kale Soup – This recipe is a quick version of a soup Rachael had while she was visiting Mystic, Conn., a Portuguese community nestled by the sea in New England. This soup is a cold-weather wonder.
2. Massaged Kale Salad – Simply dress kale with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and massage until the kale starts to soften. Add diced mango and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) to finish the salad (recipe pictured above).
1. Sauteed Kale – Bobby’s Sauteed Kale is combined with olive oil and garlic, then finished with red wine vinegar for a simple and low-sodium side dish.
Relive the premiere episode and take a look at an extended preview of next week’s episode below (click the play button):