Yesterday as we scrolled through Colonie's Instagram feed, we came across a beautiful abstract green mass and wondered "What could it be?" Once we clicked through, the caption explained: "What to do with left over kale stems? Make kale salt. Duh." Well, we certainly did not know about this! We reached out to the restaurant's executive chef, Andrew Whitcomb, for more information on this magical waste-not recipe, and this morning he told us:
"The Kale Salt is super easy to do, its a base process we use to utilize all the stems (not just kale, but herbs too) and leaves that aren't useable. For the Kale we juice the stems and fold it into COLD kosher salt (its important its cold so the color pops) and leave it to dry in a low oven (about 200f) takes a couple of hours.
For our herb salt we just make an herb puree out of the stems and leaves. Blanch herbs 15 seconds, blend until smooth at high speed and fold into Cold Salt (2:1 ratio) then dry. The texture is almost like wet sane before you dry it. It's a super easy way to utilize the things that would other wise be going in the trash."
Here's a breakdown of the Kale Salt process:
- 2 cups salt
- 1 cup kale stem juice
- Mix it together until it looks like wet mud, line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or a slipad), then throw it in the oven (200f) for a couple of hours to dry out
You can find tons of uses for the resulting product (top your eggs, potatoes, salad, anything with it), and in the ultimate "when life hands you kale stems" moment, one woman has even added the kale salt to cookies!
Whitcomb says it doesn't stop at kale and herbs, either, telling us, "We like to try to utilize every aspect of the plant, root to seed so to speak. We will take the stems slice very very thin and use them as little flavor bombs. The husks of corn we soak in water and use to wrap fish before steaming. When we juice things we always save and try out the pulp, currently we dry out kabocha squash pulp to make 'granola.' I have been experimenting using dried, ground pulp as a flour substitute for cakes cookies and other pastries. It's an endless cycle of possibilities and I am always thinking of new interesting was to use our waste products."