I had a load of Tuscan aka lacinato aka dinosaur kale to deal with. At only $3 for about two-and-a-half pounds at my local farmers market, this monster bunch was hard to pass up. Of course it also meant that I had at least two-and-a-half pounds of kale to wash, dry and prepare.
I really dislike breaking down kale.
I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Search Google for “kale recipes” and there are over 12 million results. That’s a lot of opportunities for people to get pissed off at kale.
As delicious, healthy and inexpensive (at the moment) this vegetable is, it can be a pain in the ass to deal with.
I have yet to figure out the best way of washing it, so my current method is to rinse each leaf individually under running water and then place the leaves in a colander to drain. If I have time I’ll lay the leaves on paper towels to air dry; they repel water and dry pretty quickly. Otherwise, I’ll cut the leaves before washing or drying them so they will fit in the salad spinner. I’m sure this method is deeply offensive to certain populations.
Then there is the task of removing the tough rib that runs the length of the leaf. In smaller leaves I usually let it be and just chew chew chew through it. However, this truly was dinosaur kale, with the ribs to match.
So I wondered, would the task be less odious if I dusted off my pizza cutter to do the de-ribbing?
It was quite effective at removing the gnarled ends. One pass with the pizza cutter was all it took to lop them off.
Removing the rib itself was a little trickier. I had to make sure the blade was right up against the rib and then roll firmly and quickly up the leaf. A couple times the blade strayed from its course and cut through the rib. But once I got the hang of it I was zipping out kale ribs as quickly as a fisherman gutting sea bass. I’d say I saved a minute or two on the whole process by using a pizza cutter.
Sure, a knife would have accomplished this, but there was something satisfying, perhaps even primal, about eviscerating a massive pile of kale with a large and terrifyingly sharp, circular blade. Plus I found another use for this kitchen tool.
So if you happen to have a pizza cutter and an unwieldy bunch of kale, give it a try. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll end up with kale shreds, which is perfect for making Smoky Kale Salad.