I’ve seen a lot of comedians joke about how much white girls love brunch. People say that most stereotypes are built on a kernel of truth, but I’ll be the first to admit: These guys have got me pegged so hard.
When I was in my early 20s I went to a local diner with a group of friends for brunch – I’d never had brunch before, but I dug the concept. I’d also never had poached eggs before, but these people would not stop raving about eggs benedict so I decided to give it a whirl. We were poor college graduates and the decadence seemed almost sinful. From that day on I was hooked on brunch. I could have coffee AND a cocktail AND juice at a meal! I could eat breakfast foods after 10 a.m.! I could put an egg on anything and call it brunch. My concept of dining expanded and I embraced brunch with the reckless abandon of a lovesick teenager.
I discovered kale in a similar way. I was living in Brooklyn and at a bar called Sidecar for brunch with friends. [I know, those last two sentences are so cliché, I almost coughed up my fair-trade soy latte.] My friend Claire said, “you have to try the kale.” I’d never heard that phrase uttered in my life, but she is a good friend and I trusted her. The dish came piping hot in a small cast iron skillet. Vibrant green kale, sautéed with shallots and bacon, with a sweetness that I couldn’t put my finger on… oh man, was that maple syrup? If you’ve never had kale before, this is not a bad way to be introduced.
Just to bring this tale full circle – I went on a kale kick. But how could I improve upon the dish? Put an egg on it, obviously. The next morning I replicated the recipe for Bernie with a few small twists. That was probably five or six years ago, and it’s been a household favorite ever since.
“Sidecar” Kale Shirred Eggs
2 shallots, sliced thin
2-3 cups chopped kale
4 slices of bacon
0-2 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how much heat you like)
1 tbsp maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
1. Over medium heat, cook the bacon in a cast-iron skillet until crisp.
2. Crumble the bacon and set it aside; dump the excess grease from the pan.
3. Sauté the shallots in the remnant bacon grease until soft.
4. Add the kale, and continue to sauté until wilted.
5. Add the bacon, maple syrup, and red pepper flakes, stir until evenly distributed.
4. Remove the skillet from the heat and make three wells in the kale mixture. Crack an egg in each well. The trick here is making the well solid enough on the sides that the whites don’t go running around.
5. Place the skillet in the oven until the whites are opaque, then switch to broil to firm them up a little. Be careful not to overcook the eggs. If you bake until the whites are firm, the yolks will be hard. The eggs will look “wet” even if they’re over done, so it’s hard to tell. Your best bet is to switch to a quick broil and check the yolk (gently!) with a fork to know when to pull them out.
Super easy, super tasty, inspired by real events.
(Sorry for the poor image. Left the camera at work!)