I hawkishly watch the new cookbook releases feed for my local library system. I’ll admit it, I’m much more addicted to cookbooks than my income or shelf space will allow in new additions. So I borrow, I read, I cook with, I return – occasionally I return them in a fit of angst at not being able to purchase them. But at least they are there for me to peruse at will. I love our library system here. I’ve worked in it before and I hope to work in it again soon.
A couple of weeks ago I happened upon a new book in the system all about kale! The Book of Kale seemed like a great read for someone as fannish about kale as I am.
This is a slightly different cookbook than the usual. Not only does it have 80+ recipes, most involving kale in one way or another, but it also covers everything you could want to know about growing it. Grow it, then eat it. Talk about a well-rounded approach! Sharon Hanna the author goes into great depth in the first section. From the history of kale, to reasons why you should eat it, to growing, to how to get your kids to eat it and love it. She hits all the bases with this one topic cookbook. Ever wonder how many varieties of Brassica oleracea acephala there is? The answer is, a lot. Find out the difference between B. oleracea and the sub-type Brassica napus in the pages of this book. And then maybe you too can grow some dinosaur kale for your kid(s).
The second half of the book is comprised of the recipes. Broken down into seven categories: breakfast, starters & light meals, salads, soups & stews, vegetable dishes & sides, pasta, polenta & risotto, and main dishes. What, no kale ice cream?
Wondering what variety of kale makes the best kale chips? That would be Lactino (otherwise known as dinosaur) kale. Long broad leaves with minimally tough stems make for crunchy green nirvana when dried to a crisp in the oven (or even your food dehydrator, she covers that method also). Or maybe you’d like to make some crunchy crackers with kale? There’s a recipe for that too. Perfect with a smear of goat cheese. Yum.
For my first foray into the recipes in this book I decided to make something light for our Friday dinner. The Ligurian Kale and Potato Torta suited my mood. Simple, rustic, and stuffed full of kale (mostly because I left out the Chard that was in the original recipe). This northern Italian pie was a hit with my husband and my little girl.
- 2 pre-made pie crusts
- 3/4 cup mild feta, crumbled
- 3/4 cup Italian blend cheese, shredded
- 1 large potato, boiled, chopped, cooled
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cups kale leaves, chiffonade or chopped to smallish bits
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Saute onion til barely golden brown on edges. Add in kale and 3 tablespoons of water. Put on lid and let kale wilt. Remove lid and continue to stir and saute til most moisture is gone.
- Mix kale and onion, potato, cheeses, and a bit of salt and pepper in medium bowl. Pour beaten eggs over, mix thoroughly.
- Place first pie crust flat onto a sheet pan that’s been sprayed, or brushed down, with olive oil. Heap kale mixture onto middle of pie crust, leaving 1/2″ empty around edge. Place second crust on top, and crimp edges shut. Brush top and edges of torta with remaining olive oil. Slash a few holes in the top for steam venting.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. Should be just golden brown.
- This recipe was adapted from The Book of Kale by Sharon Hanna.