Six O’Clock Solution: Superhero kale to the rescue with butter and lemon zest

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The kale growers are harvesting and seem more than likely to visit friends with large amounts of this vegetable, having found their gardens overproducing the flavourful greenery. Chef Gary Maclean, “national chef of Scotland,” calls it “a superhero ingredient” from a plant “that just keeps on giving.”

When my son, an Eastern Townships weekend gardener, arrives with a big paper bag of his kale, I take Maclean’s advice and wash it and tear it into leaves, discarding the tough spines. For newcomers to kale, think of it as a firmer spinach.

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This handsome cookbook, The Scottish Kitchen: More than 100 Timeless Traditional and Contemporary Recipes from Scotland (Appetite by Random House, $37.50), is generous with recipes for other strong, firm vegetables, such as carrots, beets, cauliflower, squash, broccoli and the ever-faithful potato. As the weather cools, Scottish recipes from this well-researched book come into their own.

Buttered kale

Serves 4

2 bunches kale*

2 tablespoons (30 mL) oil


Freshly ground pepper

2 cloves garlic, chopped

¼ cup (60 mL) butter

½ lemon, grated to make zest

*Estimate 1 bunch kale weighs 1 pound (500 g) or 5 cups (1 L)

Trim tough spines from kale.

Heat a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat and add oil and some salt and pepper.

When oil is hot, add kale and cook, turning, for a minute or two.

Add garlic and continue cooking for 30 seconds.

Add butter and lemon zest, tossing to distribute ingredients.

Cook about three minutes until butter melts.

Serve hot.

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