Kale, now that in my head goes hand in hand with yoga, quinoa and those low-crotched harem pants I see schlupping around town. It's a bit like the dubstep of the food world - does anyone actually like it or are they all trying to keep up with appearances? Or is it like Marmite and andouillette, you have to grow up with it on order to enjoy it?
In The Netherlands, kale is actually still eaten regularly (and I had eaten it before ever having heard the word kale, under its Dutch pseudonym of boerenkool) in a popular Dutch peasent dish stamppot, which is potatoes and kale mashed together, usually served with sausage. Now that will certainly stick to your ribs!
The first time I actually heard about kale in terms of the american phenomomen, was while living in Paris. You might think thats weird, what with all those French trying so hard to forget it...but it was because of a new transport to the city, like myself, Kristen. I admire Kristen a lot for starting The Kale Project in order to bring kale to France, when she found herself new in Paris with little French and no job (all been there, it's not easy!). You can find a cool video of her here talking about her journey with The Kale Project.
When I was in France her project was still in its early stages and so my commitment to kale (having never really tried it or put 2 and 2 together with boerenkool) wasnt enough to get me schlepping over to the rive gauche to find that one market stand who stocked it (in reality there was probably more but you understand the gist of things).
So kale vs Felicity happened last weekend by way of these muffins. The kale-suspicious Frenchman even loved them (though I may have lead him to believe the 'green stuff' was epinard not le kale). I triumphantly let him in on the secret after securing many assurances from him that he indeed loved the muffins and would definitely have seconds.
I think next time, i'll try putting the kale in a food processor or mortar and pestle in order to get a finer mulch and a strong green colour in the dough.
Woah, i'm even talking about a next time!
Kale, Feta and Prosciutto Muffins
Makes 10 generous muffins
4 rashers of smoked bacon, sliced into approx. 1cm pieces
1 cup washed and finely chopped kale50 grams butter
220mls whole milk
1 2/3 cups flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup crumbled feta
around 10 basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
3 slices of prosciutto, cut into 10 strips total
Grease a muffin tin with butter, and preheat oven to 180deg c or 350 deg f.
Fry the bacon in a small frypan. Once crispy, add the kale, all of the butter, and leave on a low heat for 5-10 minutes.
Add to the kale and bacon pan, the milk, and heat through.
Into a bowl sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add a pinch of salt.
Pour in the milk mixture and add to it the egg, cheeses and basil leaves.
Fold together using a spatula, just enough until combined well.
Divide the mixture into your muffins tins (mine it filled 10) and decorate the top of each with a peice of the proscuitto - I tried to roll the proscuitto a bit in order to get a flower bud kind of finish.
Bake for 15 minutes until gold brown.
Serve warm with cold salted butter.