Kale, walnuts and capers
Here at The Ordinary, we’ve decided to revive a worship of ancient Greek deities. We’ve been building oracular shrines and temples in our back yard…making little piles of stones for hermes, eating pomegranates for Hera, and worshipping owls for Athena. We’re sending the boys to vacation Zeus camp. I’m kidding, of course, but I have been reading the boys’ copy of D’aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, and I’m completely smitten. The stories are so rich and strange, and yet so familiar. They’ve got a flood, with one couple building a boat that carries them safely through it. They’ve got people being made from other people’s body parts. They’ve got an all-powerful god who is strangely incapable of avoiding death and misery for everyone around him. The scope and balance of Zeus’s power and his limitations is so fascinating to me. He wants to change certain situations, but he can’t, because it’s against the rules. But which rules? Who made them? Who is more powerful than Zeus, to dictate what he can and cannot do? He can’t stop himself from killing his mortal wife by revealing himself to her in all his deadly, brighter-than-the-sun-glory (he promised!). But he can take her unborn son from her burnt body and complete its gestation in his leg, and he can eventually bring her back to life and give her a home on Mount Olympus. He’s powerless against the jealous anger of his godly wife Hera. In one story, he falls in love with a mortal named Io, and when Hera comes down to investigate, he turns the woman into a cow. She’s a very pretty cow, though, just as she was a very pretty mortal, and Hera is jealous. So she asks for the cow as a gift, knowing that Zeus won’t be able to turn her back into a real girl. She has her servant Argus watch over the cow. Argus has hundreds of eyes all over his body
. So part of him can sleep while part of his watches the pretty cow. Zeus sends Hermes down to take care of Argus, and Hermes bores him to death
! He tells such dull stories that half of Argus’ eyes close, and then he continues to tell such dull stories that the other half of Argus’ eyes close, and he dies! And Hera puts all his eyes on peacock tails! How can you not worship gods with stories like this?
This is a completely simple preparation of kale, but it’s quite pleasant as well. This time of year I love mozzarella, tomatoes, and fresh basil (I know, I know, everybody does.) This sees that combination piled atop kale that’s tender but bright and tossed with capers and walnuts. A little crunchy, a little tangy, and satisfyingly fresh and green.
Here’s Hermes Tri by Jorge Ben, I think there’s a connection to Hermes the god, but I’m a little confused by the story, since I don’t speak Portuguese.
1 bunch kale, trimmed and washed
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic or one garlic scape, trimmed and minced
1 t red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 t capers
juice of half a lemon
1 T butter
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
small handful fresh basil
1 tomato, chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the kale and boil until tender but bright…5 – 8 minutes, depending on how you like your kale cooked. Drain. When cool enough to handle, chop.
Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic or garlic scape and the pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic starts to brown…about 1 minute for regular garlic, and 3 or 4 minutes for the scapes. Add kale and the capers, and stir and cook until the kale is coated with oil. Cook for a few minutes, then stir in the lemon juice and butter. Transfer to a bowl, and season with salt and pepper. Top with tomato and fresh basil. Serve with grated or cubed mozzarella, if you like.