Steam sweet potato (store-bought ready to cook) fries or cubes, until not quite cooked – still almost crunchy. Sprinkle with salt and a pinch of cayenne. You could blanch the store-bought ready-to-cook sweet potatoes.
Let cool. You could even refrigerate, covered, overnight and use the following day. Grind the not-quite-cooked sweet potatoes in your kitchen food processor and freeze the sweet potato or use immediately.
In a mixing bowel, stir in a very full cup of ground sweet potato pieces that were steamed to not-quite-cooked stage with one whisked egg and a quarter cup of frozen kale (braised in Stella Artois beer, with fresh crunchy ribs removed. Don’t use the baby salad leaves variety). Add a quarter cup of all-purpose flour or your choice of favourite flour. Mix well. No need to add spices because the ready cooked kale you have braised in beer is plenty spicy already. But you might like to add a little additional fresh-picked deep-fried or air-dried sage if you really love it.
Using a large tablespoon, scoop out the pancake-like mixture and fry small, thick, rounds quickly in a little sizzling unsalted butter (or you might choose to use sizzling saved yummy bacon fat from your refrigerator glass storage jar, or even use duck fat if you have any). Fry for about two minutes each side until just golden brown on each side. Mound the roasted rosti on a plate until you have used all the batter. These rosti are a little like my recipe for (leftovers) blini.
Serve with cold sour cream. It’s amazing! A really special dish, indeed. A wonderful, unusual amuse bouche. A really perfect pre-made treat that can be served room temperature or really hot.
You could even put a soft runny-yolk poached egg on top with (always room temperature) hollandaise and have an unusual breakfast (a perfect choice for offering if you operate a bed and breakfast, or even if you have guests staying overnight). You could add a crispy rasher of bacon. Or top with my caramelized onions.
Alternate: Drizzle the sweet potato rosti with second season maple syrup and grate a little fresh orange zest on each or mince some homemade citrus rinds from your pantry sugar jar.
You could easily substitute parsnips, turnip, kohlrabi or a hard squash, or even carrots.
Or: Top the sweet potato kale patties with a thick strip of grilled halloumi cheese or a strip of Celebrity Cow Brie; add a slice of cored apple or a wedge of peeled cored Bosc pear.
Or use a marinated puck of plain Celebrity brand marinated cream cheese, mashed with grated firm apple and a little minced dried deep-fried sage from your pantry jar.
You could garnish with a teaspoon of my hazelnut watercress pesto.
And one more; over the top: split a boccochini cheese ball and dress with any of the above, even a poached egg and fresh warm hollandaise.
Beer Braised Kale
Combined with the sweet potato fries, made into rosti, you will love this up-to-the-minute use of both vegetables. Kale is related to the cabbage family. I hadn’t cooked kale in recent years, and this was indeed a special treat. I was first introduced to kale in the 1960s and prepared the way I’ve described you will love it, guaranteed. When children ask for seconds, you know you’ve got a good thing going.
In recent years, kale has made a comeback in the markets, and folks fell in love all over again. Some prefer crispy, roasted kale stuffed chicken; others prefer chips made from crispy kale. There are hundreds of recipes and suggestions, but I’ve never seen my version any place. So, do enjoy. This recipe is amazing, and don’t tell anyone it’s good for you.
Start by removing the coarse ribs in the leaves. Rinse kale in a colander under cold running water to remove any sandy bits. You don’t have to dry it. The moisture will disappear as the kale melts in the skillet. Chop kale coarsely.
Depending on how much kale you are making, make several crisp rashers of smoky rich full fat bacon. Chop the crunchy bacon coarsely and reserve for the moment.
In the bacon fat, sauté chopped white onion. Sprinkle the onion with salt, fresh ground pepper, nutmeg, paprika, a tiny bit of crushed dry thyme, fresh chopped parsley, a few granules of dried deep-fried sage from your pantry jar if you have it and a pinch of sugar. Add a little homemade golden oven-roasted garlic purée from your refrigerated storage jar. Put the chopped bacon back in the pan.
Add the kale and add rich homemade chicken stock and Stella Artois beer, in equal portions. You will have to judge how much liquid depending on how much kale you are preparing. Don’t flood the skillet. Use just enough liquid to dress the kale fully.
You don’t need to cover the kale in a flood of liquid (the kale will shrink the way spinach does) but you are going to cover the pan with its lid, and braise the kale mix for at least an hour on very low heat after bringing to a soft boil. So keep an eye on the pot so liquid doesn’t disappear completely. Stir occasionally. Add more liquid if necessary.
Your kitchen aroma will be wonderful. Open the windows and let the neighbours enjoy!
After an hour, test the kale texture to see if you are pleased. Think of the texture like spinach but less smooth. But even so kale takes much longer to break down. It will eventually become mashable, using a fork.
When ready to eat, the kale mix can be used many ways: added to my whipped, mashed potatoes is just one way to serve, creating a Dutch stamppot dish. The Dutch call kale borecole. Be sure to drizzle a little plain white vinegar over the mix and sprinkle a little roast beef or goulash liquid over the potato kale mix.
You can use the kale mix as a tapa on grilled garlic bread or on toasted black-olive bread brushed with unsalted butter. You might want to add a dollop of full-fat sour cream on top. And maybe a dusting of sweet paprika or even cayenne if children are not eating.
You can serve the kale mixture as is, as a side dish with many things. If you enjoy simmered, fried large European sausages, a platter of the kale mix is an amazing accompaniment. Maybe add a gently poached, still runny egg for each serving.
The braised kale mix is also terrific with braised brisket (you might enjoy a little different flavour by adding a little Marsala wine to the braising brisket, and serve with my whipped, mashed potatoes. Sprinkle the kale potato mix in this method with just a little drizzle of plain white vinegar; do not stir. Just let the plain white vinegar sit on the kale potato brisket serving. The odd addition of the vinegar really makes all the flavours come alive. Without the enhanced vinegar flavour, the enjoyment just isn’t the same. Be sure to try it. It seems to be a well-kept secret enhancement.
My guess is you probably haven’t eaten kale prepared this way. It’s not difficult to make but is time-consuming. And not unlike wilted spinach, in the end the starting volume has magically diminished. You likely will get requests for seconds.
If you happen to grow kale in your own garden, make this recipe and freeze the kale mix in portions, and thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then proceed with however you wish to serve it.
And don’t forget what a tasty crostini is, made with grilled bread of choice, cut on the diagonal, smeared with just a bit of your homemade golden oven-roasted garlic purée, mounded with Celebrity Canadian goat cheese herb-marinated coins and topped with delicious kale braised in bacon fat-sautéed onions and crushed crispy bacon.
This will be a most memorable tapas, or a marvelous side to any full meal. Adding a little marinated stove-top pork tenderloin, just barely cooked after searing on the stovetop, and sliced on the diagonal topped with a little of my German Italian plum confit, or a little Croatia Sour Matatia Cherry Spread is a winner.
If you have plucked out most of the braised kale and find bits left among some bacon and onions in your braising pan, and perhaps an ounce of liquid, add toasted fresh coarse breadcrumbs and a little minced fresh parsley and fresh basil, and just a pinch of minced fresh sage, and use to fill topless roasted or fresh-picked scooped-out cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with dry grains of Parmesan or Romano, and top with fresh ground peppercorns. Broil (open-door) on top rack right underneath the element for just seconds till breadcrumbs and cheese topping get barely golden. Top with their cut-off lids and serve immediately.
You can make these stuffed tomatoes anytime and freeze them, upright, in a tightly packed flat covered container and just pop them under a pre-heated broiler any time you want to serve. Another great take-along to someone else’s house or a potluck. Remove the lids when broiling and pop back on when ready to serve.
At the dollar store or at a restaurant supply you can buy little one-inch square white china dip-server dishes. These are a perfect size for serving the stuffed cherry tomatoes individually. You can arrange the little dishes on a bed of crushed coarse salt to support any profile you like. Another wonderful amuse bouche. Perhaps place the little white china containers in a row down the middle of a long narrow white platter and surround with shredded iceberg lettuce and maybe make a couple of tomato roses from larger fruit to decorate, along with segments of lemon cut from between the membranes. Pink grapefruit segments are a pretty addition.
Wow! Something from almost nothing. Nothing goes to waste in my kitchen.
© “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks” | Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience