The Book has got quite a few recipes that follow the [bitter green] + [cured pork] + [some acid] = [delicious] formula. In this case the bitter green is played by kale, cured pork by our perenial favourite: bacon, and cider vinegar is taking on the role of acid. You simmer the kale for a few minutes while crisping the bacon in a pan. After pouring off most of the bacon fat, you add the drained kale to the bacon, and sautée for a couple of minutes. Once it’s off the heat it gets a quick spash of cider vinegar, and it’s time to eat.
The Good: We eat a lot of bitter greens, and this variation on the theme is one of the better ones. Kale is particularly nice because it retains a lovely bright colour even when it’s cooked. The bacons smokey sweet and salty fattiness plays perfectly witht the bitter turnipy kale. The sweetness and acidity of the cider vinegar tie it all together nicely. This dish takes about seven minutes to make, and it tastes wonderful.
The Bad: There’s not much bad to say about such a classic combination. It works. Bitter green haters have aready stopped reading this post, so no need to pander to them. The only reservation I’d have about serving this is if the other items on the menu were very mildly flavoured. This dish packs a big punch, so pair food accordingly.
The Verdict: This is a winner. We eat some varition on this formula frequently. Our doctors tell us to eat more bitter greens, and this makes doing so a pleasure. Sure, it involves bacon, but it’s mostly used as a flavouring agent. You don’t need to add salt, because it’s right there in your bacon, oil? nope also brought to you by the joy of bacon. This simple unfussy standby dish, and the many others like it, have a special place in my heart.