Phil’s City Kitchen: Cooking with Kale

17 January, 2014

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There’s no point denying it, kale is king. Well, currently anyway. Though the vitamin-rich wild-cabbage descendant has been around for millennia, having been brought to Europe in 600 BC by groups of Celtic wanderers, it is the vegetable of the moment, and for good reason too.

Kale has been proven to ward off at least five different types of cancer (bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate), lower cholesterol, detoxify the body and act as both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Kale is also rich in vitamins A, C and K, omega-3 fatty acids and calcium, and tastes amazing. Plus, research shows that many of its positive effects are improved when kale is paired with other healthy foods, such as avocado, olive oil or Parmesan. So with that said, here are a few of my favourite dishes with kale that are perfect for inspiring you to be an adventurous healthy eater in 2014.

Chilli Eggs

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A recipe inspired by my recent trip to Sri Lanka, I ordered this for breakfast every morning during our stay in The Sun House, a boutique hotel in Galle. Every meal here was a dream, and the breakfasts were no exception (see my most previous post for more details). Milk bread, perfect for toasting, was served warm in napkins with homemade lime marmalade every morning, along with fresh fruit and imaginative egg dishes, such as eggs with leeks and spinach, baked eggs, scrambled eggs with Indian spices and my much-loved chilli eggs.

I’ve put my own spin on the dish by adding kale as I think it brings some freshness that we all look for in January.

Ingredients:
Butter
Small red onion, finely chopped
Green chilli
Tomatoes, finely chopped
Kale (blanched & chopped)
2 free-range eggs (Burford Browns are a favourite)
Sea salt
White pepper
Neal’s Yard Keen’s cheddar
Fresh coriander finely chopped

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Method:
1.) Melt a little butter in a small frying pan and add the diced red onion and fry for 3 to 4 minutes until soft.
2.) Add finely chopped tomatoes and green chilli.
3.) Add the pre-blanched chopped kale, sea salt and white pepper and stir.
4.) Crack two eggs straight on top of the mixture.

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5.) Grate the cheddar on top – as much as your heart desires. The cheddar works to bind the mixture and also tastes fantastic.
6.) Place a lid on top of the skillet and wait until the eggs have cooked and then add some fresh coriander and serve.

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Carrot and Kale “Tabbouleh” with Salmon

Inspired by one of my favourite cookery books of last year, ‘Smashing Plates’ by Maria Elia, my version of her “tabbouleh” recipe champions fresh herbs and kale. This take on “tabbouleh” is great to brighten up salads or in place of a starchy carbohydrate with any kind of meat dish, but here we are pairing it with another superfood, salmon, and with an in-season homemade blood orange and date dressing.

I usually get my ingredients from Whole Foods or Marylebone Market, but find it difficult to shop for the whole week since I am always changing my mind. I think home cooking is a lot like improvising in music – by going with your instincts, letting new ideas in and, often, by simplifying you can create something truly special.

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Ingredients:
Carrots (peeled & chopped, and soaked in iced water)
Fresh flat leaf parsley, mint and coriander (picked)
Red onion
Tomato
Chilli
Kale (blanched & chopped)
Sea salt and white pepper
Roasted hazelnuts
Salmon fillet
Blood oranges
Date syrup (or pomegranate molasses)
Olive oil
Rapeseed oil

Method:
1.) Gently blitz the carrots soaked in ice water (this is a trick to rejuvenate any vegetable told to me by an Italian chef) in a food processor to achieve a “tabbouleh” texture.
2.) Add to a bowl and season with lots of fresh chopped parsley, mint and coriander.

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3.) Then add finely chopped red onion, tomato, blanched kale and chilli.
4.) Stir together and add some sea salt and white pepper.
5.) For that needed bit of texture add some gently blitzed hazelnuts.
6.) Make the dressing by squeezing the juice of a few blood oranges into a separate bowl and adding some sea salt, a little bit of olive oil and date syrup. Add as much as you like to the “tabbouleh” and stir. Taste and season as necessary.

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7.) To cook the salmon, put a little bit of rapeseed oil into a hot skillet and add in the salted salmon fillet.

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8.) Cook on each side for three minutes so that the skin is crispy, the outside is nicely coloured and the inside is still pink.
9.) Add a portion of “tabbouleh” to a plate and place the salmon on top, garnishing with blood orange slices and fresh coriander and serve.

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