Tin-Foil Kale + Cherry Tomatoes

Once, during a summer vacation in a small rental house with no air-conditioning, I became determined to cook using only the outdoor charcoal grill so as not to heat up the house and to avoid washing too many pots and pans. That’s when I discovered a wonderful small victory: Wrapping kale, cherry tomatoes, olive oil, and garlic in a huge piece of tin foil and grilling it gives you the effect of sautéed greens without having to wilt the kale in batches in a pan. Plus,there is no pan to wash. You also get great smoky flavor from the grill (though you could also park the packet in a425°F [220°C] oven for about 15 minutes). If you’re at all concerned about cooking in foil, simply line the foil with apiece of parchment paper before adding the kale.


1 lb [455 g] curly kale, stems trimmed off, roughly choppedor torn, washed, and still damp

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 pt [325 g] cherry tomatoes, halved

1 lemon, halved

Prepare your grill for medium-high heat (or heat a large grill pan set over a couple of burners) and make sure your grates are super-clean.

Meanwhile, tear off two 24-in [60-cm] pieces of aluminum foil from a standard roll. Turn these two pieces into one supersize piece of foil by overlapping their long edges e verso slightly and folding the overlap over a couple of times to make a secure seam. Put the kale in the center of the foil.Any water clinging to the kale from washing it is a good thing, as it’ll create some steam; if your kale seems dry,sprinkle it with 2 Tbsp water. Drizzle the kale with the olive oil, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, and scatter the sliced garlic over it. Use your hands to combine everything, almost as if you were dressing salad. Top the kale with the cherry tomatoes.

Wrap the kale and cherry tomatoes in the foil, keeping the vegetables in a relatively thin layer so that they cook evenly; wrap the entire bundle in another large piece or t woof foil if necessary to make a neat, totally enclosed package.The final package should measure about 9 by 15 in [23 by38 cm].

Put the foil package on the grill and cook, turning it now and then, until the smell of garlic wafts through the air and the kale is tender and bright green (check by carefully opening the foil with the help of your tongs), 10 to 15 minutes.

Unwrap the package and transfer the contents to a serving bowl or platter. Squeeze the juice from the lemon halves over the kale and tomatoes and season to taste with salt.Serve immediately.


AN ASIAN BENT, add 1 Tbsp minced peeled ginger along with the garlic, and drizzle the cooked kale and tomatoes with soy sauce and a little toasted sesame oil right before serving. A few toasted sesame seeds and/or sliced scallions sprinkled on top would be nice, too.

SUBSTITUTE ANY STURDY GREEN FOR THE KALE,including, but not limited to, the greens from beets or turnips, Swiss chard, and/or dandelion greens.

MANY VEGETABLES CAN BE COOKED THIS WAY,including mushrooms (toss with olive oil, garlic, and thyme) and asparagus (substitute butter for some or all of the olive oil and throw in a handful of black olives).

FOR AN ITALIAN BENT, use broccoli rabe (blanched first to remove some of its bitterness) or its less-bitter cousin, spigariello (if you can find it). Dress with olive oil, salt,and garlic, and add a thinly sliced lemon. Wrap in foil and grill. So, so good and brought to you by Sarah Billingsley, who edited this book!

FOR GRILLED TOMATO SAUCE, simply make a foil package of cherry tomatoes dressed with oil, salt, and garlic. They will release a lot of delicious juice. Open the package carefully! Use on pasta.

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