I know what you’re thinking: another kale recipe. But hear me out—this one has cheese (lots of it!), and your kids will eat it too.
Kale has been the ‘it’ superfood for years, but I have yet to convince my girls’ to put it anywhere near their mouths. So far, I’ve mainly found kale recipes of the salad variety, which are not kid (or in my case, even adult) favourites at my house. I’ve tried to recreate the yummy kale salads I’ve eaten in restaurants, but sadly they’re never the same. My kale ends up being tough and chewy, even after removing the ribs and dousing it with lemon juice and vinegar. And while I’ve heard that I should massage the leaves with olive oil to soften them up, let’s be honest, who has time for that?
Then I saw it: a Pinterest post from Food52 (god bless Pinterest!), showing the most delicious-looking kale dish. More importantly, it had only six ingredients and there was no massaging required. While I know that this recipe may not be the healthiest (full disclosure: it’s got loads of cheese and cream), think of it as a gateway dish to introducing the mini-me’s to kale. Trust. After some cajoling (and the promise of dessert) Zoë ate kale for the first time. And yes, her four mouthfuls were accompanied by crispy bits of cheesy goodness, but she ate kale. In my book, I view this as a win.
LACINATO KALE GRATIN (Serves 6 to 8, as a side) This recipe comes originally from Renee Erickson’s A Boat, A Whale, and A Walrus
- 3 medium (or 2 large) bunches lacinato kale, ribs removed, torn into roughly 3-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (use the good stuff!)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Pile the kale in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish (or something a bit larger). It will seem like an overabundance of kale, towering above the pan’s edge, but you want it all. Season the kale with the nutmeg and salt and pepper (to taste), then carefully drizzle the cream over it. Spread out the cheese slices over the kale.
- Place the gratin dish on a baking sheet to catch any cream that drips out as the gratin cooks. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour; you want the cream to thicken and the cheese to brown nicely. The outer shell of kale will crisp up, like kale chips — you want this!
- Let the gratin cool for a few minutes, then serve.
My recipe notes…
- Instead of 2-3 bunches of kale (this amount is for 6-8 people), I only used 1
- Using one bunch of kale meant cutting the cream to 2 cups instead of 3
- Degree of difficulty: Easy
- Dishes/pots/plates used: 1
- Clean up time: Easy; soak first to soften the crispy cheese stuck on the dish