I love kale.
But, I’ve never known about it until this past fall.
I guess I’m a late bloomer?
It was a random facebook status update by my friend, Anina, that peaked my interest. I’ve always passed by the “greens” section at the market, wondering what people did with chard, kale, and what the heck is escarole?! It looked like lettuce, but not.
With Anina’s help, she suggested I make the Plain Jane recipe from Orangette, but add red pepper flake. After that, I was hooked.
To anyone who has experienced the horror of frozen, chopped spinach, boiled to death, I urge you to just try. Please try.
Roo was, well, hesitant when I placed this down in front of him.
He loves prosciutto, has never turned down an egg, but the greens. The greens were making him question why I was calling this “dinner.” But he tried it and now is a believer.
In fact, when I told him we were having rib eye and rosemary potatoes for dinner yesterday, he asked what were we “having for veg?” I told him he could choose between kale or green beans, and he picked kale.
What I love about this recipe in particular is that the greens are simmered in stock. This adds a certain richness to the dish (and rids the greens of its bitterness). The leaves still have texture, and to place a poached egg on top is amazing.
There’s always something about cutting into a runny egg that makes my eyes open wide. I love watching the yolk as it slowly makes its way down the little mound of greens. And to swirl it up on your fork, being sure that the prosciutto gets caught up in it, makes this dish a regular in our kitchen.
Adapted from Orangette
I’ve used red chard, green chard, red kale, green kale, dinosaur (lacinato) kale… Roo prefers kale, I love chard. Choose what you like. Do it.
Olive oil (about 4 tbsps)
2 bunches (approx. 1.5 pounds) of (insert green)
1 large onion (don’t like too much onion? Grab a small one. )
red pepper flake (I use teaspoons. But to start, try a half teaspoon)
garlic cloves (I use four to five. Start with one or two.)
2 cups low sodium (chicken) stock or broth (And please use low sodium.)
large sautè pan (I like one with tall sides to keep everything in)
salad spinner (this investment will change your life!)
I tend to be a little “rustic,” as Roo puts it, when I prep my greens. I literally hold the long stem of the plant, then start plucking away the leaves in bite sized portions. If there any parts that seem wilted, tear them off and throw them away. The cats actually hover near my feet to get any dropped leaves, and if I miss the garbage bin, they always beat me to picking it off the floor.
…our cats are weird. But that’s another blog post.
Place the leaves into a salad spinner, and taking the inner basket, wash the leaves well. I’ve had a problem in the past with kale bringing grit into whatever dish I was adding it to. Thankfully with the purchase of the salad spinner, I haven’t had the issue since. Chard has never been an issue, but just be sure to rinse and dry whatever you’re prepping by hand, well.
Spin your spinner. When it stops, take the inner basket out with your leaves and set aside.
Splash about 4 tablespoons of olive oil into your pan. Set your burner on medium. As your oil heats, dice your onion. When your oil starts to shimmer, it should be hot enough for you to throw your onion in. Sometimes, when I’m unsure, I like to take a piece of onion with my tongs and dip it into the oil. If it sizzles, or if (because you have your “greatness” playlist playing too loudly on your iHome in the background) you see bubbles start to form around the onion, then you know it’s hot enough.
So, throw your onion in. Stir occasionally, and chop your garlic. When your onion becomes golden brown, throw in your garlic and red pepper flake. Stir until aromatic. About 30 seconds – 1 minute.
Throw in your (insert green). I do this in batches. I like to throw in a handful at a time, using my tongs to get the greens covered with the hot onions, garlic, and oil to help it wilt. When all the greens have been incorporated, add your 2 cups of chicken stock. It should read about halfway up your greens.
Simmer until the the greens are no longer bitter, and tender. It should take about 30 minutes. Also, the stock should be reduced more than half. There is usually barely any left. However, cooking times vary. There have been times when I tasted the greens after thirty minutes, it tasted great, yet there was still about a cup of stock left. I decided that it was just going to be a soupy dish. A soupy delicious dish.
So don’t freak out of if your greens taste great and you have too much liquid left in the pan.
To serve I would place a mound of greens on a plate and top with a poached egg. And prosciutto. And if you’re feeling really awesome, grate some fresh Parmigiano Reggiano on top.
When I first made the original recipe from Orangette, it said that it served four. But believe it or not, it serves one hungry Roo and LLN. I have also been known to polish off an entire bunch (3/4 to 1 lb) of greens myself for dinner.
But we’re gluttons. I mean, sexy.