By Stacy Harris
Kale, cabbage, collards, and mustard greens are flourishing in my Alabama garden this year. The recent snow seems to have given a sweeter taste to all of them, something I’ve noticed especially in my kale recipes. I’m not surprised, as this versatile vegetable is the hardiest member of the Brassica family, and it thrives in cooler weather.
Kale is also incredibly beautiful, and one of my favorite varieties is Lacinato kale. The leaves have a bumpy texture that reflects light at different angles, plus they’re a deep purplish green that adds a depth of color I’ve not found in any other plant. (It’s so striking that I even use the leaves in my flower arrangements.)
Needless to say, I take special pains to showcase kale in my cooking. In this kale recipe, the green is the centerpiece of a rich, quiche-like dish enfolded in a flaky pastry. Sweet onions add to the sweetness of the kale, and walnuts contribute a hint of texture and crunch.
Add a splash of hot sauce, then serve this kale recipe with a side salad and some creamy grits. You’ll have a brunch that will exceed even your own expectations! (Then next weekend, try my recipe for Creamed Kale with Poached Egg.)
3 tablespoons olive oil, more for sautéing if needed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 pounds fresh kale
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
4 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped and toasted
2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/4 cup heavy cream
Tabasco or other pepper sauce (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut stems away from any large kale leaves (the tender stems on younger shoots are fine to use), then set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then blanch kale for about 4 minutes. Drain kale and allow to cool until you can easily handle it. Chop kale, squeezing out any excess water, then place in a large bowl.
Heat oil and butter in a large sauté pan and cook the onions over medium-low heat for until tender (about 8 minutes). Add garlic, sauté for a few seconds, then add onion and garlic mixture to the kale. Mix in cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and walnuts.
Unfold one sheet of puff pastry and place on a baking sheet lined with a piece of parchment paper (the paper should be slightly larger than the sheet). Place kale mixture in the middle of the pastry, then brush the pastry around it with cream. Roll out the second pastry sheet on a floured surface until it is about 2 inches larger in all directions than the first sheet. Place this sheet over the top of the kale mixture and crimp edges. Brush top and crimped sides of the pastry with cream. Using a knife, make 3 or 4 slits in the pastry top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then bake for about 40 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Transfer to a cutting board and serve.
Stacy Harris is pioneering the farm-to-fork eating movement that includes harvesting wild animals in addition to domesticated animals and homegrown fruits and vegetables. She’s the author of several books about sustainable living for healthy families, including her most recent release, Recipes and Tips for Sustainable Living. For more recipes like this check out her website at GameandGarden.com and her Facebook page.