Slow-Cooked Kale, Pancetta, Breadcrumbs + Poached Egg
We tried this without the pancetta and it was still indulgent and super tasty. Top it with a poached egg for a perfect, healthy breakfast.
2 to 3 ounces pancetta, diced into small cubes (use an additional tablespoon of olive oil if you omit the pancetta)
1 pound Tuscan kale, center ribs and stems removed (about 8oz | 250g once trimmed)
1 sprig rosemary
1 chile de árbol (optional, a pinch of red pepper flakes works nicely, too)
1 cup yellow onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs
splash of vinegar
freshly cracked black pepper
for the breadcrumbs*
2 cups bread cubes, torn from a fresh or day-old loaf
3 tablespoons olive oil
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Working in 2 batches (or 1 if you’re using a large enough pot), blanch kale for 2 minutes. Drain, let cool, and squeeze out excess water with your hands. Coarsely chop; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, place the pancetta in a large sauté pan over low heat and cook covered for 15 minutes. Remove cover and cook for about five minutes more or until the fat has rendered and the pancetta is crisp. Remove pancetta with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Set aside.
3. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan with the pancetta fat and place over medium heat. Add the rosemary sprig and chile (if using), and let sizzle, shaking pan every so often, for about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and add onion. Season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the garlic. Continue cooking stirring every so often until onion is soft and starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Discard rosemary and chile. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil and kale; stir to coat. Season with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes, until kale turns almost black and is slightly crisp at edges, about 30 minutes total.
4. Meanwhile, bring a small shallow saucepan to a simmer. Crack each egg into a small bowl or ramekin. Sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of vinegar into the pot of water. When the kale has cooked for about 25 minutes, adjust the heat of the water so that it’s barely simmering—you don’t want to see any bubbles or movement. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to make a whirlpool in the water, then drop one egg into the center of the whirlpool. Repeat with the other egg. Adjust the heat to keep the water just below a simmer. Set the timer for 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift one egg up from the water and shake it. The yolk should jiggle a little bit, but shouldn’t look too loose. When the eggs are cooked to your liking, remove each one with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
5. When the kale has finished cooking, stir in the breadcrumbs and the pancetta. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Divide the kale mixture between two bowls. Top each with an egg. Season with pinch of salt and pepper.
* To make the breadcrumbs: Place bread in a food processor and pulse until crumbs are coarse. Toast crumbs in about 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, tossing frequently, for about 5 minutes or until crumbs are crunchy and golden brown. Add a little more olive oil if necessary. Season with a pinch of kosher salt, and let cool on a paper towel-lined plate.
Contributed Karen Tedesco for our Dark Leafy Greens contest with Food52.