Before this past Tapas Monday, I had never cooked kale before. I remember one of my childhood friends complaining about its constant presence at the dinner table thanks to her parents’ garden, but it was a veggie I had not been served or had cooked. Seeing that it’s a leafy vegetable, I decided I’d cook it like other greens. As I learned that evening, kale is a hardier vegetable than spinach or chard.
We purchased purple kale when we were on a regular trip to the farmstand. Knowing it would not be popular with the kids, my husband suggested we make it part of our Monday dinner for two, which seemed like a good plan. Most weeks we make tapas-style dishes for this meal, and this week was no different. However, this lead to the challenge of how to make kale into a tapas-style dish.
After reviewing several options in my mental files, I decided to wilt the kale and turn it into a topping for crostini. For so many of our dishes, I use flatbread as the base for our crostini and wanted to make this dish different. That was a good decision on my part, as the kale has more weight and substance and would overpower a thin cracker. The polenta worked well, as it was thick enough to provide its own texture and flavor to the crostini. With a layer of caramelized onions between the polenta and the kale and a layer of fresh mozzarella over the kale, it was a multitude of flavors and textures.
- olive oil
- 1/2 lb. kale, stem removed
- salt & pepper
- firm polenta (storebought or homemade)
- 1 onion, caramelized
- fresh mozzarella
- Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, then add kale.
- Sauté for 5-10 minutes. If kale is not tender, add 1/2 cup of water, cover, and simmer.
- Check every 5 minutes or until kale is tender.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Cut polenta into slices no more than one inch thick
- Top each slice with caramelized onion, kale, and one or two mozzarella slices.
- Place under broiler for 1 minute, or until cheese melts.