Post written by contributor Katie Bartel
Okay, so let’s be honest here for a second shall we. I am not a master of the kitchen, not even close. Before my husband, I lived on omelettes and grilled cheese sandwiches. But that’s not to say the kitchen doesn’t fascinate me. I grew up with parents who both are fantastic in the cooking realm, I have always been drawn to recipe magazines, and when on maternity leave a few years ago, after being gifted a subscription to Cook’s Country by my pops, I embarked on a 12-month challenge that had me trying my hand in the savoury world once a month. And you know what, I totally I didn’t poison us! Quite the feat. Still, though, unless it’s a birthday, or some other special sort of event, it is rare that I am the one with chef’s apron on in our house.
Well folks, that is about to change.
A new challenge has been steeping in my brain for about a month now – and it’s all about the fresh, local, awesomeness of the Royal City Farmers Market. Every market day, I have committed to seeking out the strangest, unique, most oddball ingredient I can find, and working a recipe from it.
First up: kalettes.
Have you heard of kalettes? I hadn’t, not until I showed up at Ossome Acres’ booth on the morning of Feb. 6 and saw these little puffs of purple-greens. Hey, what are those, I asked. Why, kalettes of course – the love child of kale and Brussels sprouts. W’oh! Who knew?
Although the brainchild of this hybrid was developed 15 years ago in Europe, it wasn’t debuted until 2010 and only hit North American soil two years ago. And still, you’d be hard pressed to find it in grocery stores, said Noella Oss of Ossome Acres, a Chilliwack farm that prides itself on standing out with its crops. “I’m pretty sure we’re the only ones growing it out here.”
A mix of nutty and sweet, chewy and crunchy, these guys are good raw, roasted, blanched and steamed, said Oss. They’re huge in fibre; it doesn’t take much to fill a belly. In fact, one $4 bag got us five meals worth.
And the flavour, “is so nice and sweet right now because of the snow and frost,” said Oss. “They’re full of concentrated sugars.”
So, how did I use them?
I threw a few rosettes into a kitchen sink soup, lightly roasted a bunch on the barbecue with sea salt oil and balsamic vinegar, (I think they may even be better than kale chips!) and put together this sweet and salty salad from www.kalettes.com – they EVEN have their own website!
Happy kalettes eating my friends.
Recipe: Kalettes Salad with Apples and Bacon
5 oz Kalettes
1/8 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/8 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 apple, cored and sliced
2 slices bacon
1 onion, sliced
1. Slice stem end from Kalettes, allowing some leaves to fall loose and leaving centre leaves intact. In salad bowl, add Kalettes and drizzle with vinegar. Sprinkle with 1/8 tsp. salt and toss to coat. Set aside for 10 minutes.
2. In a skillet over medium, add 2 slices of bacon. Cook until brown and slightly crunchy. Remove bacon from pan, leaving grease, and drain on paper towel. Add sliced onion to pan and sauté over medium high until carmelized, about 10-15 minutes. When bacon is cool, crumble into small pieces.
3. In a measuring cup, add extra virgin olive oil, 1/8 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste. Shake or stir to combine dressing. Add the sliced apple, bacon and onions to bowl with Kalettes. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat.