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Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Seasons: 'inspired' kale?

By MARY MCCLINTOCK

Before now, I’ve never used “kale” and “inspired” in the same sentence. Perhaps that is because I’d never tasted kale the way Son Tremé cooks it. Wow! Son Tremé is the chef at Elmer’s in Ashfield, and he is an incredibly talented cook.

I had dinner at Elmer’s last Friday night with a friend. When my friend first tasted the kale, her whole face lit up, and she said, “You have to taste this ... this is the best kale I’ve ever eaten!” I took a bite and agreed. Then we spent some time trying to figure out what made it so tasty. I’m glad I asked for the recipe, because I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out on my own.

When Son wrote, he shared both his recipe and his inspiration, and I thought, “Yes, this is indeed inspired kale!” And, I’m curious about how his S.A.S.H. concept will work with other vegetables and other combinations of ingredients.

Sustaining Massachusetts Agriculture Through the Years: A Brief History of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture and Allandale Farm, Friday, March 1, 4 p.m., Lower Level, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, UMass Amherst. Talk by John Lee and reception. John Lee, a life-long farmer and advocate for agriculture, has operated Allandale Farm in Boston and Brookline for 28 years. He is a trustee of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture (founded in 1792), the Massachusetts 4-H Foundation, and sits on the Massachusetts Food Policy Council and the Board of Public Overseers. Allandale Farm is a sixty-acre, direct market organic farm that has been in the same family since the French and Indian wars. Lee’s Talk is in conjunction with the UMass Amherst Libraries’ exhibit, “Pioneers of Mass Aggie: Founders, Builders, and Innovators,” through May 13, 2013. “Pioneers,” the first of three exhibits to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the University of Massachusetts, focuses on the early history of “Mass Aggie,” as Massachusetts Agricultural College was known. Event is free and open to the public. For information, contact Anne Moore at amoore@library.umass.edu or (413) 545-6888.

This Week We’re Eating. . .

SON’S S.A.S.H. KALE

By Son Tremé, Chef, Elmer’s in Ashfield
Thank you for the opportunity for me to present my work in a public forum. Here is my recipe and the inspiration for the recipe. Before, I used to cook bitter greens the same way any home cook does: with salt and pepper, a little fat, and that was it! The greens were edible, but not memorable.

That was before I became an unofficial student of international cuisine and learned that there has to be something to balance the natural bitter flavor of the ingredients. There are many combinations; one could even create one’s own flavor by using the concept of “S.A.S.H.” — Sweet, Aromatic vegetables, Smoky, and Hot. “Sweet” could be any sweetener, “Aromatic” vegetables could be one or any combination of one’s favorite seasoning (garlic, onion, pepper, celery;) “Smoky” can come from smoked meats like bacon or ham (or, for vegetarians, liquid smoke,) and the Hot is usually from fresh peppers or liquid pepper sauces such as Tabasco. (Never use dry spices in moist preparations.)

The recipe I like the most is:

Kale, 1 bunch sliced thin

Brown sugar, 2 T.

Hot sauce, 1 tsp.

Liquid smoke, 1/2 tsp.

Butter, 4 oz.

Garlic, 4 cloves

Lemon juice, 1 tsp.

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut and clean greens with cold water. Then, blanch or steam them in a pot of boiling water with a colander ... or have one on standby. Blanch greens in water until they become bright green — about 2 minutes, no more. In a sauce pan, heat butter and garlic until it becomes aromatic, then add sugar and pepper sauce. Bring to a simmer. Add lemon juice, liquid smoke, and salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat. Pour hot liquid sauce over blanched greens and stir until fully incorporated and they are ready to serve.

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