May 15, 2011

Kale with mushroom and kale pesto

I love my quiet Sunday mornings in the kitchen. After my morning exercise I often bake something for us to enjoy later in the day. Most Sunday mornings I feel peaceful and serene, knowing that I have a whole day to spend catching up on things and spending time with my partner. This is the perfect time to make something that I'd normally find fiddly or time-consuming. This dish is neither, but it made me happy to work with such beautiful ingredients.

I am always inspired by the beautiful produce I see at the farmer's markets or the green grocer. When I picked up two huge bunches of kale leaves from the green grocer the other day I had no idea what I'd make of them, but I knew they looked so pretty I couldn't leave them behind. The gorgeous purple pared with the snow white leaves looked just so inspiring. I wanted to make something that would celebrate this gorgeous vegetable and that wouldn't require hours in the kitchen. These cute little leaves filled with kale and mushroom pesto would make a perfect party snack or an appetiser and once again the recipe is easy to adapt to your own liking. Fresh herbs are a must, however, but you could use different mushrooms like shiitake or Swiss brown and use pine nuts instead of sunflower seeds.

Kale with mushroom and kale pesto

purple and white kale, one bunch each, leaves picked and washed

Mushroom and kale pesto

1 tablespoon good olive oil
small handful of mixed fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage)
1 clove garlic, finely sliced
10 cup mushrooms, sliced
pinch of salt (I use Pink Himalayan)
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
juice of 1/4 Meyer lemon 
130g bigger kale leaves
1/2 Meyer lemon, to serve

1. Pick the small inner leaves off the kale - wash and set aside.

2. Cut the stems off the bigger leaves and place in a steamer. Steam for about one minute. Remove from the steamer and set aside.

3. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the garlic, herbs and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms are just softened, 2-3 minutes.

4. Place the steamed kale leaves along with the mushroom and herb mixture (with any left-over oil in the pan) into a food processor. Add the sunflower seeds and squeeze in the lemon juice (use the zest too if you want more flavour). Blitz until coarsely chopped, not too fine.

5. Serve the small kale leaves with the pesto and extra wedges of lemon.