Ok, so my friend SLI gave me a cookbook for my birthday last year – a cookbook that she wrote for me. It’s a great story, and I’ll tell you the whole thing someday (or put it in my book!), but today is not the day for a story, today is a day for a recipe.
Here is my interpretation of SLI’s Potato-Kale Gratin:
-1.5-2 lbs thin-skinned boiling potatoes (I use butter potatoes)
-1 bunch kale
-1/4 cup olive oil and 2 cloves minced garlic (or Wegman’s Basting Oil, with basil and garlic already in it)
-1/3 to 2/3 cup bread crumbs
-1/3 grated Parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup mozzarella and/or white cheddar cheese
-optional: oregano, thyme, basil
Ok, first off – and this is totally optional – I toast my own bread crumbs. It’s kind of a pain, but I tried it the first time because I had a concern over the ingredients in store-bought bread crumbs, and I found that it added a lot, taste-wise. So now I do it all the time. Take a couple slices of wheat bread, crumble them up into little pieces, and bake them on a cookie sheet for around 10 minutes (or until they look toasty but not black) at 350. (You can always make extra for next time and stick them in the freezer until you use them again).
Next, preheat (or maintain) the oven at 350. Boil a large pot of water, and also prepare an ice bath in a big bowl. Slice the potatoes ¼ inch thick (using a knife or mandoline) and then add them to the boiling water for around 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes, dump them into the ice bath (and stir them around a bit to make sure they all get cold), drain them again and let them dry – you can blot dry with paper towel.
Cut off and throw out the spines from the kale (this means to cut off the leafy bits from the middle bits). Wash and cut the leafy bits into ½ thick ribbons (so, length-wise – you’re not making salad, you’re making “ribbons”).
In a big bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, and some herbs (or you can use the basting oil here). Add the kale and mix it all up with your hands.
Take a 9×12 rectangular casserole dish, or whatever other oven-safe dish you like. Layer the kale, then potatoes, then mozzarella/white cheddar cheese, then bread crumbs, as many layers in this pattern as you can fit. I like to end with parmesan cheese on top. Sprinkle some herbs on top too at the end.
Cover with a top or aluminum foil or a cookie sheet, and bake for 30 minutes. Bake for another 15 minutes, uncovered.