Today is Groundhog Day. Obviously not in Australia; I have never even seen a groundhog, nor did I think their name-day was anything more than an old Bill Murray movie.
But Groundhog Day is a real thing that happens on the second day of the second month of the year. If it is cloudy when the groundhog emerges from his burrow on this day, the spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will see his shadow, presumably get scared and run back into his burrow, thus winter will persist for six weeks more. There is some bizarro folklore around the world, certainly. I think my favourite thing about Groundhog Day is how it sounds in French, the Jour de la Marmotte.
And, of course, the old Bill Murray movie.
In celebration of all things Groundhog, I am sharing a recipe that is always on repeat in my kitchen. So by ‘all things Groundhog’ I mean, absolutely nothing to do with the questionable logic of the original holiday and everything to do with the major plot line of the Bill Murray movie.
This now kitchen staple of mine came about from a throw-away line in an old food magazine, something Jamie Oliver said about roasted kale. We happened to be growing kale and had come to the realization that kale isn’t actually that great. Very healthy, you know? So green. I thought I’d give the vegetable one more go, see if it could prove to me that its health benefits were worth the kind of tough, stalky, greenness of the whole situation, so I coated it with olive oil, sprinkled over some salt and pepper and chucked it under the grill (I am too impatient to roast). When it started to brown I whipped it out and drizzled over some lemon juice and lo! It redeemed itself, and then some.
I may be coming late to the ‘roasted kale and lemon’ party, but if you are also not as on-food-trend as I, this will give you the leg up you need to jump on the bandwagon. And if you already knew about this miracle transformation of the vegetable world, maybe consider this a gentle reminder: kale may have given way to chia or seaweed or whatever else is it this year, but it’s still pretty tasty when you cook it like this. And it is an amazingly easy way to add legitimacy to the claim that your spaghetti carbonara is a healthy grownup dinner.
And, just before I go, I have another nudge into delicious-land for you. Not only can you transform kale with this magical cooking method, it also works on beetroot leaves, young cauliflower leaves, silverbeet leaves… Really any green leaves that may be a little tough to eat fresh. So get into the garden and get gathering!
Select your greens, wash if need be. Coat well in olive oil. Lay in a single layer on a baking tray and place under a hot grill. Keep an eye on them and once they start browning and smell toasty, like something you’d love to eat, grab them out. Salt and pepper them well and, if you’re feeling it, sprinkle over some lemon juice. I like them seasoned only though, so the amazing toasty butteriness can really come through. So easy, so so good.