Thanksgiving evening found me at my in-laws’ house, cradling my over-stuffed stomach and reading Saveur. You’d be surprised, perhaps, that after all of the excesses and gluttony of the day that I’d turn to a food magazine. Amid the usual T-day stories of turkey and potatoes was one about kale, Tuscan kale in particular. Alternately called Tuscan kale, lacinato kale, black kale, or dinosaur kale depending on who you ask, this dark green leafy vegetable is apparently the new darling of chefs and foodies. I remember a New York Times article about a Tuscan kale salad a few months back, but with the title, “If it sounds bad, it must be good“, I can’t say I was particularly motivated to pick up a bunch.
Though Saveur claimed that Tuscan kale can be hard to find, I see at my farmer’s market every week nestled alongside chard, mustard greens, and dandelion greens. Figuring that was a sign, that such an unusual and now coveted item was right in front of my nose each week, I bought a bunch last week. After doing a fair bit of research on kale recipes, I found myself inexplicably drawn to The Wednesday Chef‘s 2005 post on Paula Wolfert’s knife and fork kale. Based on a recipe in The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook, the kale is slow cooked then arranged atop a slice of lightly toasted bread with a poached egg perched on top. This is the sort of thing I never would have eaten in the past- I was not into eggs and when I did eat them, it was always scrambled. But I have to admit that in this case, the poached eggs were pretty great and the dish ended up being a really interesting mixture of flavors and textures. Although preparing the kale takes a bit of time, it’s mostly hands off and is the perfect light lunch for a lazy weekend day. Yum!
Tuscan kale and poached eggs on toast (serves 2)
1 bunch kale, preferably Tuscan, but other varieties will work
1-2 tbsp truffle oil (or olive oil is fine, too)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 clove garlic, whole
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
1 cup water
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2-4 eggs (depending on how hungry you are)
1 tsp vinegar (for the eggs)
sprinkle of paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 slices bread, lightly toasted (preferably something delightful and homemade, like Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe)
1. Wash kale, cut out ribs and slice into ribbons. Put in a pot over low heat with the olive oil, garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper.
2. Cook over low heat, uncovered, for 10 minutes, then add one cup of water, partially cover the pot, and cook for at least an additional 30 minutes.
3. Drizzle the balsamic over the cooked kale. Rub a garlic clove over the toasted bread to infuse it with flavor, then drizzle bread lightly with truffle oil (or olive oil) and sprinkle the parmesan on top. Layer the kale on top of the bread.
4. Meanwhile, in a shallow frying pan, boil water. Poach the egg. (See instructions here, if you’re a poaching novice like me.) Put the poached egg(s) atop your bread, sprinkle with more salt, pepper, and paprika and serve.