My cousin set me the challenge of coming up with recipes for produce that she’s planting in veggie gardens right now. She’s the genius behind The Sage Garden, a company that encourages and teaches kids and their families to grow their own organic produce. Now that autumn leaves are dropping and mornings are getting frosty, the winter crop is being sown. Over the coming weeks kale, radish and silverbeet will shoot up and provide the basis for winter meals. I’m excited to come up with recipes for this gorgeous produce. You can follow our little experiment over on The Sage Garden’s Facebook page to get tips on planting, and also get recipes from my other talented cousin who is the chef and owner of The Devonshire restaurant in Sydney.
To get you inspired to plant kale, a gnarly winter green who can come off as bitter and tough but who’s really a softy at heart, here’s a recipe that is cooked under the grill (broiler) in less than 15 minutes. It’s a warm salad that is full of texture thanks to the magic of kale chips.
Kale chips have risen to epic popularity on food blogs in the last few years (I like this recipe from A Cup of Jo). Like potato, kale is an excellent platform for oil and seasoning. When baked, the kale takes that lovely fat and turns it into a tasty, crispy, beer-food type snack, just like chips. The crunchy texture and smokey, charcoal flavour is what gives this warm salad its oomph.
I have eaten this meal four times in the last five days. I could say that it’s because I was testing the recipe to get it just right, but it’s really because the salad packs a lot of flavour from a few ingredients and is extremely quick and easy to make. Just place the veggies and the chickpeas under the grill, let the kale go crisp, the chickpeas golden and the tomatoes soft while you fry a couple of eggs and you’re done. Lemon and feta combine with the egg yolk to form a creamy, tangy dressing that oozes over the blackened, crunchy kale, warm tomatoes and slightly crispy chickpeas.
This smokey, sharp and creamy salad works well as a hearty brunch, a satisfying lunch or a light dinner. This versatility seems reason enough to get some kale seedlings in your backyard.
Grilled Kale and Chickpea Salad
- 2 cups curly kale, stems removed, chopped into bite-size pieces, cleaned and dried
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 x 4oog tin of chickpeas, drained
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 30g feta (marinated goats feta is delicious in this)
- 2 lemon wedges
- 2 eggs
- Salt and pepper
Pre-heat your oven’s grill (broiler) on high.
Toss the kale, tomatoes and chickpeas with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a large oven tray* and place under the grill for 8-10 minutes, watching it carefully as your grill may be hotter than mine! Take care to keep the tray a decent distance from the element, or your kale will blacken before the tomatoes and chickpeas have a chance to cook. Rotate your tray half way through. You want the kale to have crispy edges, with green in the middle. Some of the edges will go black but this just adds a good charcoal flavour.
Fry two eggs so the whites are cooked and the yolks are runny, the yolks will act as a dressing for the salad.
Divide vegetables between two plates, sprinkle feta and squeeze lemon over the salad, place an egg on each plate and season.
*If you don’t have a large tray or oven, divide the kale onto one tray and the chickpeas and tomatoes onto another and cook the kale first.