Kale sprouts with garlic, anchovy and chili flakes
Kale has become wildly popular in many forms and food groups: we juice the leaves, or dry them to make chips. In early spring, their flowering tops (usually called "raab") appear in the market, and in the winter, fresh kale sprouts, a hybrid cross between red Russian kale and Brussels sprouts, are quickly gaining a following.
A hearty leafy green that not only survives but improves with snow and freezing temperatures, kale is a reliable crop throughout the winter. The sprouts can be thinly sliced and used raw in a salad, but I prefer them cooked over a long period during which their integrity is not compromised in the least, or charred in a heavy bottomed pan over high heat.
Makes 3 to 4 servings
4 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated on a microplane
1 medium-size shallot, finely minced
1 anchovy filet, finely minced, or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy puree
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
1-tablespoon olive oil
1 pound kale sprouts, red Russian or lacinato kale
Juice of half a lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Combine the garlic, shallot, anchovy, chili flakes and fennel seeds to make a paste. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the kale sprouts, season with salt and begin to toss and stir them, allowing the sprouts to brown slightly. After about 1 minute, add the reserved paste and stir in thoroughly making sure to coat the sprouts evenly. Add the lemon juice, season with additional salt if needed, and finish with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve the kale sprouts as a side dish or with the turnip puree as an accompaniment to fish or chicken.