“Kale, glorious kale,” the latest cookbook by Cathy Walthers & Alison Shaw

“Kale, glorious kale,” the latest cookbook by Cathy Walthers & Alison Shaw

Combine striped bass, cherrystones, mussels, and kale — all local — to make cioppino.

In this, the first in an occasional series about projects Islanders are working on, we preview some recipes from the third collaboration between Vineyard chef and author Cathy Walthers and photographer Alison Shaw. “The book’s working title is ‘Kale, Glorious Kale’,” Cathy told the Times recently. “I hope it changes, but that’s up to the publisher, Countryman Press. It’s scheduled for publication in the fall of 2014.”

The book will feature kale in all incarnations: smoothies and juices, salads, soups, appetizers, main courses, sides. As with their previous two efforts, “Raising the Salad Bar” and “Soups and Sides,” the new book will feature Alison’s photographs and Cathy’s recipes. She’s been creating and testing these on her husband, David Kelleher, and their son, James. Dave has christened her project “Kale til it kills you.”

“We’re on day 31 of eating kale for dinner in one form or another,” she said, “Yesterday I tested (and ate) a Strawberry-Blueberry Kale Smoothie, the Very Veg Kale Salad, the kale soup, and a baked potato dish with kale. My family hasn’t complained once, luckily for me, though my husband has joked we should call the book ‘A thousand ways to hide kale’. But I’m not really trying to hide it.”

Here are a few of the recipes she’s sure will make it into the book.

Kale Cioppino

Serves 4

Living on Martha’s Vineyard means clams and striped bass are often plentiful. Cooked in a base of tomatoes, garlic and herbs, they create a perfect base for braising kale. I like the way dinosaur or lacinato kale melts in this, but any type of kale would be good. This is an easy dish, but good enough for company along with chilled white wine and fresh bread or garlic bread.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 whole leek, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise, and sliced (about 2 cups)

1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup white wine

1 1/2 cups chicken stock or water

1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes with juices or 3 cups home-canned or frozen tomatoes pulsed to finely chop in a food processor

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound (1/2 bunch approximately) kale, ribs removed, and cut into fairly small bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)

12 cherrystone clams, scrubbed well

18 mussels, rinsed

1 pound striped bass, halibut or cod, cut into uniform pieces, about 1 – 1 1/2 inches

Sauté the leek in the olive oil until soft, 5–8 minutes. Add the garlic and stir another minute more until fragrant. Add the wine and boil for a minute or two. Add the stock, tomatoes, herbs, 2 pinches of salt, and kale and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, at medium low heat for 10 minutes.

Turn dish to medium high again. Add the clams first and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the mussels and nestle the fish, cover, and simmer on medium until mussels open, about 3–4 minutes more. Once you add the fish, try not to stir too much to keep the fish from breaking up.

Once the clams and mussels are open, the dish is done.

Very Veggie Kale Salad

Serves 4

This fall salad has crunch, sweetness, and a giant bowlful of colorful vegetables. Perfect to prepare for a workday lunch for a few days or a potluck. Baby kale is sold in grocery stores, but for a special treat try the local baby kale grown by Blackwater Farm. You can often find it at their farmstand behind Cottle’s on Lambert’s Cove Road or at their booth at the West Tisbury winter farmers market. Check out the Morning Glory stall for fresh fall red cabbage and carrots.

3 cups baby kale, rinsed, spun dry, lightly packed, stems removed

2 cups red cabbage, sliced as thinly as you can

2 carrots, peeled and shredded (approximately 1 cup)

1 1/2 cup edamame

1/2 cup raisins or cranberries

1 wedge of lemon

1 or 2 crisp apples such as Braeburn, cut into small dice, sprinkled with lemon juice to avoid browning

1/2 cup cashews or sunflower seeds

Dressing:

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon finely minced shallot

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 good pinches of salt

Mix the kale, cabbage, and carrots in a wide bowl or platter. Steam the broccoli for 1 minute and spread out on a paper towel to quickly cool and absorb excess moisture. Add to salad. Mix in the raisins or cranberries, apple and cashews or sunflower seeds.

Make the dressing, by whisking together the vinegar, honey, shallot and olive oil. Season with salt. Just before serving, add the dressing and mix well. (Only mix the portion of the salad you will be eating that day.)

Cream of Kale Soup

Serves 4 to 6

Kale has a natural affinity with potatoes, which also help make the soup creamy without the use of cream. Celery root is added for its bright flavor, but if you can’t find it, substitute 2 stalks of celery. This is a subtle soup, and it does need a fair amount of salt — add a bit at a time until the flavor of the ingredients emerge. The gruyere cheese is optional, but a handful used as a garnish elevates the flavor even more.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 onion, diced

2 whole leeks, trimmed, cut lengthwise and sliced, ( about 3 1/2-4 cups)

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups water

1 small celery root, outside pared away, diced small (about 1 cup)

2 medium or large potatoes, peeled, and diced (about 2 cups)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

1 bunch kale, ribs removed, chopped into small bite-sized pieces (about 5 cups)

1 cup gruyere cheese, grated (optional)

Fresh ground black pepper

Sauté onion and leeks in the olive oil and butter in a soup pot until soft, about 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add water, celery root, or celery potatoes, and salt. When it comes to a boil, lower the heat, partially cover, and simmer about 15 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.

Carefully purée about 3 cups of the soup in a blender until creamy. Put a towel over the top of the blender and blend immediately from low to high, to prevent steam from pushing off the blender top. Return purée to the pot.

Add the kale, bring to a boil, then cover and turn down to a simmer until kale is cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking; add a small amount of water if the soup is too thick. Check the seasoning, adding salt, a bit at a time, tasting as you go, until the leek flavor shines through. (Your salt guide: If the soup tastes bland, add more salt.) Place soup in the bowls, and top with about 1/4 cup of shredded gruyere cheese, if using. If you like pepper, add some freshly ground into the bowls.