I had a bit of a love affair with kale this winter. I’m so glad I grew so many plants of ‘Nero di Toscana’, dotted among the borders and in the veg patch. It wasn’t just that the plants looked so marvellous in the frosts, but also that the leaves kept me going through the winter months. I cooked piles of them, shredded and wilted in some butter with sauteed garlic and dashes of paprika, cracked black pepper and salt. I ate so many of those thick, rich green-black leaves, and ran into the garden whenever I could to pick more.
We’re coming to the end of the affair now, as the plants are starting to flower, but there’s life in this love yet. Unlike lettuces and other salad crops, when kale bolts, it remains edible. So I’m still picking those leaves and eating as much kale as I can while the hungry gap continues. But one of the best bits about flowers appearing on my kale is that I can eat those too. Think of them as a kind of yellow-sprouting broccoli, and cook accordingly. I made an omlette with some of the sprouting flowerheads the other day, and garnished with a couple of flowers from the rocket plants on the balcony.
I won’t eat all the flowerheads though. On my biggest and juiciest kale plant, I’m leaving them to form seed pods so I can keep this love going for another season.