Curly Leaf Kale recipe that might convert you!
This is a delicious tart and vegetarian too. Can be baked as one 24cm tart for an easy family dinner or smaller tarts for lunches. It’s packed with lovely local produce. Combines cooked kale with leeks and thyme for flavour, potatoes and hazelnuts for texture. If you would like an easy and simple shortcrust pastry recipe, just contact me here.
Now I know many of you detest any form of Kale (Brassica oleracea) part of a plant species that includes broccoli, cauliflower and more. Come winter we will see the arrival of Brussel Sprouts. Yep, the good old Brussel Sprout! Many of you can’t bring yourself to eat these cute little edible green orbs. But … I have been known to convert people to eating these healthy brassicas by sharing my favourite cooking techniques in delicious dishes. We will return to Brussel Sprouts later in the year. I also grow and cook the versatile Cavolo Nero (Tuscan Kale) which my family have grown and cooked since I was a child and love it. I make Ribollita Soup with it and use it in polenta, potato and pan-fried dishes. My Italian roots showing! For now, let’s talk about Kale, the more delicate and decorative curly leaf variety. This nutritious vegetable was used in most parts of Europe during the medieval period until the ‘headed’ variety of cabbage was bred. In its raw form it provides a highly nutritious blend of vitamins and minerals. But I know you’re not going to eat it that way. In its cooked form it will lose some of these nutrients but will still contain healthy properties. So, this is what I’m going to teach you here… to cook Kale and enjoy it! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am always here to help.
INGREDIENTS Serves 4-6
1 x 24cm shortcrust pastry case blind baked, allowed to cool
50g finely shredded leek (approx. 1-1 ½ small-medium leeks), white and light green part only
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil and a knob of butter
1-2 teaspoons thyme leaves
100g-150g Nicola potatoes peeled, cut into 1cm small dice
200g raw curly leaf kale stripped from stems, set aside
Lemon juice to taste
150ml light sour cream
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
2 Tablespoons Parmesan (Grana Padano) grated
About ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch cayenne pepper
Freshly ground salt and black pepper
30-50g crumbled feta
20g roasted hazelnuts roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle
2-3 sliced cherry tomatoes
Preheat oven to 175-180˚C
- Blanch kale leaves in lightly salted boiling water to the count of 10. Plunge into cold water. Cool. Drain.
- Form into a ball. Squeeze out excess water. Slice then roughly chop.
- Heat oil and butter in a frypan on medium heat. Add potato cubes. Cook till just soft adding about ½ teaspoon freshly ground salt. Stir.
- Add shredded leeks and thyme. Add more olive oil if necessary. Cook until leeks are wilted.
- Add prepared kale. Season, stir and cook. Add a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Check seasoning. Adjust if necessary. Take off the heat. Set aside to cool.
- Break eggs into a mixing bowl, add sour cream, 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan, nutmeg, parsley, cayenne and a little salt and pepper to taste. Whisk to combine and check seasoning. Adjust if necessary.
- Spread the kale and potato mixture evenly onto the base of the pastry case.
- Pour over the egg mixture. Add a grind of pepper, salt, the crumbled feta and hazelnuts.
- Add remaining grated Parmesan. Decorate with sliced tomatoes.
- Bake in a 175-180˚C preheated oven for about 25-35 minutes or until the filling has just set and the tart is a light golden colour. Do not over bake. Allow to cool before removing from tin.
Serve warm, at room temperature or cold with my Roast Beetroot Salad with Chévre and Walnuts as an accompaniment and a glass of chilled Tasmanian Chardonnay or Pinot Noir to wash it all down with.
This recipe uses Tasmanian local seasonal ingredients and produce from my kitchen garden.
COOKING TIPS, NOTES AND VARIATIONS
200g raw curly leaf kale will yield approx. 160g blanched and chopped.
The blanching technique I describe above can be used for any edible (not the decorative kale you might want to colour your garden with) but curly leaf, Tuscan, etc. It removes excess pungent sulphur compounds (glucosinolates) that are contained in these vegetables and is the reason you don’t want to eat them. This technique makes them more appealing.
Don’t want to bake a tart? Prefer gluten free? Ok then. No problem.
Try making a Frittata instead with the fresh ingredients and reducing the quantity of sour cream. Also, you don’t have to add the potatoes if you don’t want to but increase the kale content. 🙂
Pan frying kale is another way of keeping the nutrition in this vegetable. Try slowly frying finely chopped or shredded kale with finely chopped garlic in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir in a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.