A couple of years ago Jeff and I were in the elevator at Whole Foods (yes, we a have two story Whole Foods – it’s like the Disneyland of natural food stores) when he noticed a sign listing the top ten healthiest fruits and vegetables. Kale was at the top of the list. Jeff observed, “I don’t know what kale is, but we’ve got to try it.” So we picked up a bunch, Jeff looked up recipes online, and he put together a fantastic kale salad that he now makes us every other week or so. There’s kale growing out in the garden now; started at different times so that it ranges from wee little sprouts to almost ready to eat size. I am not generally a big fan of eating leaves (probably a side effect of growing up in the Midwest exposed to nothing leafy but iceberg lettuce), but I love kale. It is perfect cold in salads; unlike lettuce it stays firm overnight after being doused with dressing. I love it chopped into ribbons and sauteed into a pasta sauce. One of the more odd sounding but delicious dishes we like to use it in is kale pie.
One my all-time favorite things Jeff has ever said to me is, “You use a recipe like most people use a compass – it just points you in the right direction.” I pretty much never make a recipe exactly as it is printed. I found the original recipe for kale pie in one of my favorite cookbooks: Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian”. The recipe I give you below doesn’t look much like Mark’s but Mark’s recipe didn’t include any cheese. I had to add cheese…and once I did that the changes just kept coming.
Gina’s Kale Pie
- olive oil for sauteing
- one large bunch kale, chopped into strips with the hard center stalk removed (you may also use Swiss Chard)
- 2 large leeks, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounces good cheese (feta, Gouda, drunken goat cheese), grated or crumbled
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup plain full-fat yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly butter a 9 inch square casserole dish.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
- Saute the kale, leeks, and garlic until soft. Let cool to room temperature.
- Mix kale, leeks, garlic, salt, pepper, cheese, and 3 eggs in a large bowl.
- Mix remaining 3 eggs, yogurt, baking powder, and flour in a second large bowl.
- Spread one half of the flour mixture in the bottom of the casserole dish.
- Top the flour mixture with the kale mixture.
- Then top with dollops of the remaining flour mixture.
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes. The top crust will be shiny and golden brown.
- Let cool for 15 minutes and then serve.
I was singing the praises of kale last week to my friend and colleague, Karen. She appeared at my office door today and said, “I bought a bunch of kale. Now you need to tell me how to use it!” Now go forth and try kale – you’ll like it.