Bundles of these greens show up in market stalls in October. Our food director, Lucinda Scala Quinn, recommends snapping up a bunch. "I like its sweet, earthy, almost nutty flavor," Lucinda says. "It has great texture but is tender too." Also known as Toscana, dinosaur, or lacinato kale, it is low in calories; full of vitamins A, B, and C; and loaded with anticancer compounds called sulforaphanes. It's also incredibly versatile. "Sauteed, it can get crunchy or caramelized; in soup, it takes on the broth's flavor," Lucinda says. "You can even eat it raw, thanks to its sweetness." In short: If you haven't tried Tuscan kale, it's time to turn over a new leaf.
Tuscan kale is best in the fall. Seek out bunches with dark green, blemish-free leaves.
Kale seems sturdy but wilts quickly. Store it loosely in a plastic bag in the coldest part of the fridge for up to three days.
Textured leaves are magnets for dirt. To clean kale, swish it in a bowl of cold water, rinse, and repeat with fresh water until leaves are grit-free. Pull or cut out tough stems.
Brown split sausages (such as linguica or chorizo) in a skillet. Add 2 garlic cloves, a pinch of red-pepper flakes, and some olive oil; saute for 30 seconds. Add 1 bunch washed kale (still wet); cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Season with salt.
Cut kale crosswise into shreds. Toss with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Top with shaved parmesan cheese.
Cut kale into 2-by-3-inch pieces. Stir into simmering vegetable or bean soup. Cook until tender, 5 to 6 minutes.