This recipe is a version of a classic from my childhood, Spinach Madeleine. Our mother could always coax us into eating spinach when she served this dish with dinner. The cheese sauce and toasted bread crumb topping do a great job of convincing all people, even the most seasoned spinach hater, that spinach can taste good. Keeping this in mind, and having experienced an over-the-top substitute from my local Walmart grocery pickup order that left me with three gigantic bags of kale (and lots of leftover), I decided to whip up my own take of this delicious side dish: Kale Madeleine.
Well, beside the fact that I had a boat-load of leftover greens, this vegetable is a superfood. It comes from the cabbage family, and eating kale provides a whole heap of health benefits. According to WebMD, these benefits include:
Nutrients in kale can also help you:
Kale is also a resilient and cold-hardy plant, making it easy to grow at home. It can be grown in pots, too, which is perfect for folks without the room for (or the inclination to have) a garden. This veggie can also grow back multiple times after cutting, yielding more produce over time.
Gather the following ingredients:
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Then, rinse your kale greens well (if not prewashed from the store). Cook the kale according to package directions, or add a little water to the dish and microwave for about two minutes. Drain the cooked kale well, reserving 1/2 c. of liquid. To do this, I put a strainer over a bowl and dump the kale and liquid through the strainer. Smash the greens into the strainer, using a spoon. This easily separates the greens from their liquid. Normally the juice is right at about half a cup; if it’s a little scant, add water until you have enough liquid for the recipe.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then add the chopped onion. Next, stir and cook the onions until soft, which should take just a few minutes. Add the flour and whisk until blended.
Pour in the milk and reserved kale liquid. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Next, add all seasonings to the sauce.
Chop your cheese into smaller pieces, and add them to the sauce. Cook and stir to melt in the cheese.
Pour the beaten egg into the cooked kale, and stir until combined. Next, add the kale mixture to the cheese sauce (or the sauce to the kale, whichever works best for you) and mix well.
Grease a 2 qt. casserole dish (like an oval gratin or a standard 8 x 8 glass dish). Add the kale and cheese mixture, and smooth out the top with your spoon. Make your own bread crumbs by buttering toast and chopping it fine. Or, use Panko or plain bread crumbs out of the can (which is what I usually do). Top with bread crumbs and bake.
How long you bake the dish depends upon personal preference. Usually I just whack this Madeleine into the oven and let it warm to bubbling, while I set the table and finish dinner prep. So, plan on baking for 10 – ?? minutes, until mixture is bubbling away and the bread crumb topping reaches desired level of doneness.
Remove from the oven, serve so that it’s piled high on your plate and enjoy! I figure the superfood goodness of the kale cancels out the “unhealthiness” of the cheese sauce … right?!
Check out all of the recipes here at The WON. Happy cookin’!
Jackie Baird Richardson is an interior designer, editor at The WON and avid junker. Watch for her design tips and occasional crafting ideas, bringing the outdoors indoors. View all posts by Jackie Richardson
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