I’ve written a lot about kale and chard lately, with good reason, both are highly nutritious and unlike many green leafed vegetables they last incredibly well when carefully wrapped in the refrigerator.
For the home gardener, variety is the thing. Given the availability of choices in leaf hues and fanciful textures, down to the rainbow spectrum of their stalks, both kale and chard provide an ever-changing backdrop for more low lying vegetables and herbs. Once planted, they require little care beyond occasional watering. Even better, I’ve discovered a few hardier plants to go dormant over winter, sprout up in the spring, and begin anew.
I especially like kale because it is rich in both calcium and potassium. Juicing is one way to extract kale’s essential minerals and nutrients, but I prefer the pure tactile process of preparing and cooking mine. Setting aside versatility and flavor, I love the way it smells in my hands; kale has its own mineral-rich ‘bouquet’, much like the land from which it grows.
I love the deep frilly leaves of lacinto kale, strong and solid to the feel, yet yielding and easy to manipulate. To remove kale’s unwanted stalks, simply strip the leaf by holding the base in one hand and with the other, run fingers up the stalk, gathering the leaf as you go. The stalks are worth saving for another day, added to a soup stock or other purpose.
A couple of big handfuls of kale are just enough to yield a satisfying and fortifying breakfast, lunch, or dinner for one. In a small gratin dish, place a slice of ham or other sandwich meat, or tomato slices sprinkled with fresh herb, salt and pepper.
Fill the dish with a nice mound of freshly washed, shredded or torn kale, a drizzle of olive oil, if you wish. Nestle an egg or two into the greens, sprinkle all with a few grinds of salt and pepper, top it with a cheese of your choice, perhaps a cheddar or Swiss, and pop it in the oven until the white is firm and the yolk is set, about 15 minutes. I like mine with a dribble of salsa verde or a dash of the hot sauce du jour.
Baked Eggs with Kale
1 slice Black Forest ham, 2 slices Canadian bacon or 2-3 slices tomato
2 handfuls Kale, washed, sliced or torn
Salt and pepper
1-2 Tbsp cheddar cheese, grated, or a melting cheese of choice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an individual baking dish with ham or sliced tomato.
- Fill the dish with fresh kale, make 2 wells and nestle in the eggs, season with salt and pper, and sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, until the whites are firm and the yolks are set.
- Serve with fresh salsa of choice. Serves 1.
To microwave, prepare as directed, break the yolks, cover the dish loosely with plastic wrap with a hole poked in it to release steam, and cook 1 to 2 minutes.