Monday, 1 February 2016

Gold & Delicious

Schiacciate con Cavolo Nero, Gorgonzola, Peperoncino & Pomodorini
Schiacciate with Tuscan Kale, Gorgonzola, Chili pepper & Cherry Tomatoes

Yep- I have a whole bunch of kale from the market hall this week- and I ain't afraid to use it! But, of course, I am not going to just make any old thing with it- I am going to make different and delicious stuff... 'cause that's just the way I am!

My first creation, this evening, was a folded-shut, filled flatbread, which we call a "schiacciata" in Sicily, which I packed with kale, onions, gorgonzola, chili peppers and cherry tomatoes... ha! I bet you wouldn't have thought of doing that!

This is, as I already mentioned, no great innovation- we have made these for years in Sicily- back in the old days, with the excess bread dough and whichever greens were left over from last nights meal for example.

But with a roll of handy-as-can-be, store-bought pizza dough, you can whip something like this up in less than an hour. And that's a pretty fine thing in itself.

So- how much kale do you need to make these? Well, let's start the other way around... if you are using 1 roll of dough, you will need 1 good frying panful of kale. That I what I used to make my 2 small schiacciate. That and 1 onion, 1/2 of a chili pepper, 4 cherry tomatoes and about a 2" slice of gorgonzola. I also added a bout 1 teaspoon of fennel seed- which not only tastes good, but makes the kale easier to digest too. A little olive oil for a glaze- and that was it!

Plain and simple but plainly and simply delicious! With he slightly bitter kale, the sweet onion, the hot chili pepper and the rich gorgonzola, this is such a satisfying snack that it easily makes a great evening meal!

The first thing I did was to cook the onion in a dry, non-stick pan with the finely chopped chili and the fennel seeds. Yep- no oil! You don't want to have soggy, greasy bread, do you? And don't worry- it will be fine!

After 2-3 minutes, the onion will be translucent and just beginning to turn golden and to caramelize and the fennel seeds will be toasted and aromatic- just perfect!

Next, add the kale leaves, removed from the stalks of course and washed, but still wet, into the frying pan. I cut them into smaller pieces- each leaf into 3-4 pieces, to make it easier to handle... and to eat afterwards!

Put the damp leaves into the pan and put on the lid for them to steam for 2-3 minutes.

After 2-3 minutes, remove the lid and then continue stirring and cooking until the leaves wilt down and become tender and bright green. 

There is no need to add salt, as the gorgonzola has plenty of that already... and with all of those chilies, there is no need for pepper either... all you need to do is to let it cool off now and you are good to go! 

In the meantime, turn on the oven to the highest setting to get it hot and ready.

All you need to do now is to fill up your dough pockets. I split me roll of dough into 2 equal rectangles- but you can make yours any shape or size you like. Start off with the kale and onions.

Then add the cherry tomatoes in slices and the gorgonzola... don't overdo it with the cheese though- or it will both be too salty AND you will find that it will all spill out and simply make a mess... less is more sometimes!

Fold the dough pockets shut and pinch and fold the edges to make sure they are well sealed... and pretty! 

Brush lightly with olive oil and cut a few slits into the top for ventilation, to let the steam out so that the bread does not become soggy and blow up like a balloon. Bake at the highest setting, at least 220°C, for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

And then once they have cooled for 5-10 minutes, slice up... and enjoy!

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