Dinner, Thy Name is Kale

This was one of those meals that came from the deep recesses of MY MIND! The idea was to make some couscous with greens and top the whole deal with shrimp. Sounds good, right?

It was! Even if it didn’t come out exactly as I hoped.

We went a little non traditional and used flavored couscous. It was waay good.

We went a little non traditional and used flavored couscous. It was waay good.

My first inclination was to wilt some spinach with garlic and oil. If Mike weren’t around to poo poo them, I probably would add mushrooms, too. But something funny happened at the grocery store — I was immediately drawn to the kale.

Kale is a bit bitter when compared with spinach, but it was on sale and it is a certified super food. While it’s usually stocked with collard greens and the like, it’s actually related to cabbage — and that’s one of the best foods you can eat. Plus, we think it tastes good.

Oh, hi Kale.

Oh, hi Kale.

The trick is to find a bunch with small leaves — the smaller the leaves, the less bitter it’ll be. All I did was put some oil in  the biggest frying pan I could find, add a bunch of kale, tough stems removed, and four cloves of garlic. Hey, I like the garlic. Some sweet onions would be good too, but I was trying to keep it simple.

All you have to do now is cover the pan and let this cook over low heat for about 20 minutes or so. Don’t worry if the kale is piled up to the rafter — it is greatly reduced as it cooks, just like spinach!

Take a whole thing of Kale and reduce it to nothing in one fell swoop.

Take a whole thing of Kale and reduce it to nothing in one fell swoop.

Now then — to the shrimp. I recently read a recipe for shrimp diavolo, a spicy pasta dish, that had some good tips for cooking shrimp. So I copied off of them.

First, I defrosted our shrimp in cold water, then rinsed, drained and patted them dry. Next, I put them in a medium-sized mixing bowl with a few tablespoons of olive oil, some crushed red pepper flakes and sea salt. I heated a small frying pan over high heat until it was BLAZING hot — about four minutes. Then just give the shrimp a toss and place them in the pan.

Simmer don na. Simma, simma.

Simmer don na. Simma, simma.

Wait 30 seconds, take the shrimp off the heat and flip them over. Add about 1/2 cup of white wine to the pan and let it warm up a bit — another 30 seconds, before placing it back on the stove. Feel free to add a little lemon juice here, too, to take off any “fishy” taste.

Reduce heat to simmer and let the wine cook off. Easy! You could also just cook the shrimp in the oil over medium heat, if you don’t have any wine handy and are trying hard to be low key about dinner.

Finally, the couscous. We used the boxed Parmesan kind. You boil water, add the spice pack, then dump in the grains and let it sit for five minutes. It’s easier than rice and the taste is AMAZING. Two thumbs up, highly recommend. I think next time, we’ll probably end up buying the big plastic bin of tri-color couscous and just adding our own Parmesan at the end. Because lately we’ve been really into buying whole hunks of fresh Parmesan and I can’t go back to the sawdust stuff.

Anyway, to bring this meal to a close, pile the couscous, kale and shrimp all together on a plate. Top with a little extra olive oil if it seems dry. And dig in!

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