One of the really lovely things about working in a kitchen garden program is the sharing that happens so naturally. Lemons, pumpkins, zucchinis, apples…produce gluts in a rainbow of flavours and colours make their way into our school kitchens. Here they are transformed by the students into all manner of dishes that are happily savoured by the kids, our volunteers (and me!). We are always so grateful for whatever we receive, and it’s a privilege to be a part of this cycle of generosity.
This week we’re very lucky to have been donated some gorgeous kalettes by a local sprout growing family, whose children attend the school. Kalettes are a cross between a brussel sprout and kale, and are perfectly delicious simply tossed in olive oil, seasoned and roasted until their leaves become crispy wafers around their little tender hearts. However for the purpose of a kitchen garden cooking class this wouldn’t do. The kids’ nimble little fingers would have them sliced up and in the oven in no time and they’d be left standing around twiddling their thumbs. So I put together this recipe with some different elements to keep them busy, and with enough simplicity to ensure it gets to the table on time.
Char-grilling vegetables such as broccoli, beans and asparagus takes them to a new level. The heat from the grill pan chars them here and there causing caramelisation of the natural sugars within, and gives them an amazing flavour boost. Couple this with crispy kalettes, creamy feta, the freshness of coriander and lemon, and finish with a fragrant seed dukkah, and before you know it you’ve created a restaurant worthy dish that really is child’s play.
- 300 g kalettes
- 300 g green beans or asparagus
- 2 small or 1 large head broccoli (around 450g)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 100 g feta crumbled
- Handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
- ½ tsp sea salt
Preheat the oven to 150 °C.
First of all, prepare the kalettes. Slice them in half lengthways, leaving any really small ones whole. Put them into a large baking dish and drizzle them with olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper then toss the whole lot together.
Bake, tossing regularly for 20-25 minutes or until the leaves are crispy and the hearts are tender. Make sure you keep an eye on them as they can turn from crispy to blackened in moments!
Meanwhile, top and tail the beans and place into a medium sized bowl. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper, then toss together.
Cut the broccoli into long florets, keeping as much of the stem attached as you can, and place into another bowl. Oil and season as you did with the beans.
Heat a char-grill pan and cook the broccoli and beans separately until lightly cooked with char-marks here and there.
While the broccoli and beans are cooking, make the seed dukkah by grinding the cumin and coriander seeds in a mortar and pestle until mostly ground down, but with still a little texture remaining. Add the sunflower and sesame seeds, and the salt, and grind again until the sunflower seeds are broken down to little pieces of breadcrumb-like size.
When the broccoli and beans are ready tip them into a large bowl. Add the kalettes and gently toss together.
Tip out onto a large serving plate, drizzle with lemon juice, then scatter over the coriander, feta and seed dukkah. Serve warm or at room temperature.