I was recently the recipient of two gorgeous bunches of organic Lacinato kale from SunCoast Organics. You might know it as dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale or cavolo nero. It’s the kind that has long, dark, embossed, plume-like leaves as opposed to its curly-leafed cousins. Lacinato kale has a slightly sweeter and more delicate taste than curly kale, and is lovely in soups, stews or even salads.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy kale is in Caldo Verde, a Portuguese soup made with greens, potatoes and smoky chouriço sausage. It’s a hearty, rustic dish that I make often. But for this kale, I wanted to try something new. I found the perfect recipe on Molly’s site, and I ran with it.
Boiled Kale with a Fried Egg and Toast is the simplest of simple dishes, yet it is so incredibly delicious. It’s just kale, simmered in chicken stock with onions, and served on toast with a luscious, gooey, runny fried egg on top. If you’re feeling really daring like I was, you can also fry up some bacon to toss in the mix. No fancy bells and whistles here. Yet, once I began thinking about this guileless little dish, I couldn’t stop!
The first thing you have to do is prepare the kale, by trimming off the tough stems, rinsing it like crazy and cutting it into ribbons.
Next, you sauté some onions and wilt the kale. Then, add chicken or vegetable stock and simmer it all, slowly, until the kale is soft and tender. I forgot to take a picture of this part. I guess I was too excited about the impending bacon fry.
Everything’s better with bacon – especially fried eggs. They’ve been going steady for years.
Where there’s bacon, there’s bacon fat. Slide a few farm fresh eggs right down into some. If you don’t use bacon, just fry the eggs in good old olive oil.
Plop a nice, thick slice of toasted bread in a bowl, ladle on some kale, toss on a little bacon and top with one of those pretty fried eggs – or two. I sprinkled some shredded Parmesan on top of mine too.
Oh, baby! It just doesn’t get much better than this, people! Come on – be honest. Could you resist this?
Boiled Kale with a Fried Egg and Toast
from the Zuni Café Cookbook via Orangette
1 pound kale
5 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water
4 thick slices of country bread
4 slices thick-cut bacon
Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, grated for sprinkling
Prepare the kale by trimming away any discolored spots and removing the tough ribs and stems from the leaves. To chiffonade the leaves, stack 3 or 4 at a time on top of each other, roll them up and then slice them into 1/4-inch-thick ribbons. Dump the sliced kale into a bowl or salad spinner and soak in cold water. Swish it around a bit to loosen any dirt and grit. Let stand for a minute or two, drain and rinse again. Spin dry or pat dry with paper towels.
In a large saucepan or stock pot, heat the 5 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are tender, but still firm. Add the red pepper flakes, garlic and the kale, and stirring until the kale is fully wilted. Add stock to cover the kale. Bring to a simmer, cover and continue to simmer until the kale is tender but not mushy, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
While kale is simmering, fry up the bacon in a skillet. Drain on a plate lined with paper towels, and cut into bite sized pieces. Set aside.
When kale is finished cooking, fry the eggs in the skillet with a few tablespoons of the remaining bacon fat.
To serve, toast one slice of bread per person. While still hot, lightly rub both sides of the toast with raw garlic. Place the toast in the bottom of a wide soup bowl. Pile some kale onto the toast in each bowl with some of its juices. Strew some bacon into each bowl. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and top each with a fried egg. Sprinkle some grated cheese on top and serve.