RECIPE: Humble potatoes and kale combine for rich picnic dish

Potato, Kale and Egg Bake adapted from a recipe by Deborah Madison. (Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com)
Caption
Potato, Kale and Egg Bake adapted from a recipe by Deborah Madison. (Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com)

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Egg bake is easy way to eat your greens

The kale just keeps coming. It seems like a bunch of the hearty greens have been tucked inside my CSA box every week since spring. I’ve braised it and sauteed it, blitzed the raw leaves into smoothies and pesto, and massaged the bitter greens into a softer, kinder salad.

A recent invitation to a picnic-themed potluck prompted me to think egg casserole (It had been nearly 18 months since I’d had an opportunity to take my insulated carrier anywhere), but using a boil and bake method that food writer Deborah Madison shares in her keeper of a cookbook, “The Savory Way” (Bantam Books, 1990).

Madison’s Potato and Kale Gratin is a simple recipe in which the veggies, after taking separate turns in boiling water, are layered in a gratin dish, covered with cream and baked until the liquid has been absorbed and the edges form a golden crust.

The day I made the dish, I didn’t have cream on hand. I did have whole milk, as well as eggs and cheese. The latter two extend the dish and make it substantive enough to serve as a vegetarian main. Whereas Madison layers the vegetables, similar to assembling lasagna, I combined everything in a large bowl before transferring the mixture to a casserole. The dish is still a pretty picture when you pull it from the oven, and it’s easy to cut into squares for serving.

I’m partial to eating it at room temperature, especially as 90-degree days become the norm. A spoonful of salsa on top isn’t a bad idea either.

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Potato, Kale and Egg Bake adapted from a recipe by Deborah Madison. (Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com)
Caption
Potato, Kale and Egg Bake adapted from a recipe by Deborah Madison. (Ligaya Figueras / ligaya.figueras@ajc.com)

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Potato, Kale and Egg Bake
  • 1 pound russet, yellow Finnish or red potatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 large bunch kale (8 cups chopped leaves)
  • Butter for the baking dish
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Scrub the potatoes, leave their skins on if they look firm and fresh, and slice them into thin rounds about 1/8-inch thick. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes, boil for 5 minutes, then scoop them out and set them aside, reserving the water.
  • While the potatoes boil, cut the kale leaves away from the stems. (Discard the stems or reserve for another use, such as vegetable stock.) Chop the leaves into large pieces and rinse well. Plunge them into the same boiling water the potatoes cooked in, pushing them down or stirring to submerge them, and cook them briefly, about 2 minutes. Pour into a colander to drain.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and lightly butter a casserole or gratin dish.
  • In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the milk and beat again to combine well. Stir in the mozzarella and Parmesan. Add the potatoes and kale to the bowl and stir well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake, uncovered, until the liquid has been absorbed and formed a golden crust around the edges, about 45 minutes.
  • Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6-8.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving, based on 6: 184 calories (percent of calories from fat, 42), 10 grams protein, 17 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 9 grams total fat (4 grams saturated), 168 milligrams cholesterol, 205 milligrams sodium.

Adapted from a recipe in “The Savory Way” by Deborah Madison (Bantam Books, 1990).

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