Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Prelude to Palo Alto Grill part 7 - Creamed Kale and Restaurant Kitchen

Exciting news! This last weekend, we were finally able to begin cooking inside the kitchen of Palo Alto Grill.  We are right on schedule for an end of the month opening.

Some beautiful photos were taken of the dishes we were able to demo on site, I've included some here.  The rest will be debuting on http://www.paloaltogrill.com soon, so stay tuned...

It seems that there's a great deal of disagreement lately about the health value of different foods and food groups.  There is, however one thing that people can universally agree upon.  Kale is crazy good for you!  High fiber, vitamins, antioxidants and it can lower cholesterol levels.

In lieu of that steakhouse standard, the creamed spinach, at Palo Alto Grill, we will be offering creamed kale.  Here's how we're putting it together:

Ingredients (serves 6)

3 bunches Kale (about 15 leaves)
1 tablespoon Butter
4-5 cloves Garlic, minced
2 large Shallots, diced
1/4 cup Pernod liquor (more on Pernod to follow)
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper to Taste

- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt heavily

- Blanch kale until tender, about 30 seconds.  Shock in ice water.

- Sautee the garlic and shallots in butter until translucent.

- Deglaze pan with Pernod 
and simmer until reduced.

- When Pernod has simmered almost dry, add cream and reduce by half.

- After reduction of cream, add blanched kale, stir to combine and heat, check seasoning with salt and pepper.

Palo Alto Grill Creamed Kale - coming soon..

A little bit more on Pernod, for those unaware.  It is an anise liquor, the flavor is very similar to fennel.  It has been made in France for over 200 years and was originally very similar to absinthe.  It is drunk with a mix of ice and water, but I find it best suited for its culinary applications.  Pernod is an indispensable ingredient in Creamed Spinach (or Kale), Escargot, Bouillabase, etc.

We finished a few more new dishes for the menu.  Including what I think will be a very unique steak execution: the Turf and Turf.  Inspired by the combination of bacon and pork loin, this is our take on the beef version of that combo.  Because of the pepperyness of pastrami, we decided to use it as an anchor for our version of a pepper steak as well.

Peppercorn sauce is made with green peppercorns, which are a really cool ingredient, but not typically useful for much else.  They come in brine and look a lot like capers.  They have a lot of flavor, and the finer they are chopped, the more it is released.

We caramelize the peppercorns with shallots and reduce along with beef stock, a small amount of cream and brandy.

The grilled steak is topped with the sauce, onions pickled in pepperoncini, and smoked pastrami.

Lastly, the first of our fish entrees was finished... Grilled Mediterranean Branzino with grilled lemon, blistered swiss chard and fingerling potatoes.

Cool beans.


  1. mmmm it all sounds so amazing!!!! i bet you'll get a lot of people who don't think they like kale to like it!

  2. I'll have to try kale this way at home! And at the restaurant, of course.

    Do you plan to offer any grass-fed/grass-finished steaks?