Pan-Fried Beans and Kale

I was so excited when Food52 came out with their best recipes of 2015 last week.  If you don’t know Food52, its a genius (yes they have #genius recipes) online source for recipes and online store for accessories.  I came across this recipe and knew it was going to be a hit.  But as always, I worry about cooking American recipes in Switzerland, I typically always have to substitute some ingredients for others, but finally…a recipe that’s perfect.

The more I eat kale, the more I read about the preparation of kale and how to make it taste even better!  Have you ever massaged your kale? Yea, I didn’t until now.  I kept reading that this method makes eating raw kale much easier by breaking down the structure of the leaves and enhancing the flavor at the same time.  Definitely a two-fer for me.

Start with washing your kale.  Remove any tough ribs.  I always fold the kale in half, along the center thick rib and then slice rib off, leaving 2 halves of the leaf.  Remove any other thicker ribs that you find.  Chop the kale to your liking.  Bite sized pieces are good here.

Place chopped kale in bowl.  Sprinkle with some salt, drizzle of oil and a tablespoon (+/-) of fresh lemon juice.   Massage gently with your hands.  You will be able to feel the leaves becoming easier to work with. Do this for 1-2 minutes.

Here is the finished massage kale.  Gorgeous, right?

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I toasted the walnuts before I started the recipe.  Good thing about walnuts, they break apart in your hands quite easily, so no need to take out the food processor to chop the nuts.

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I was worried about finding the beans in that in Switzerland I wouldn’t be able to find dried or canned beans that I could use, however Migros surprised me.  Now I prefer dried beans, but in a pinch I will substitute canned.  This was one of those times. Migros has Habriots de Soissons blancs (large white beans) available.  Now onto the trickiest part of the recipe, making sure that the beans are in a single layer and that you flip every single one of them.

A one pot wonder comes alive.

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Serves 2 to 4

  • 1/2 bunch (6 ounces / 170 grams)  kale, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 big handfuls of cooked large white beans (like coronas, limas, or gigante beans)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces / 45 grams) walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Scant 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I used less.  depends on your taste)
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/3 cup (1/2 ounce / 15 grams) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Chop and massage kale as described above.  Toast walnuts.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the beans in a single layer. Stir to coat the beans, then let them sit long enough to brown lightly on one side, about 3 or 4 minutes, before turning to brown the other side, also about 3 or 4 minutes. The beans should be golden and a bit crunchy on the outside.
  3. Add the kale and salt to the pan and cook for less than a minute, just long enough for the kale to lose a bit of its structure. Stir in the walnuts and garlic, wait 10 seconds, then stir in the nutmeg. Wait ten seconds and stir in the lemon juice and zest. Remove from heat and serve dusted with Parmesan cheese.

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