Baked potatoes are the perfect vehicles for hummus and kale, the two ingredients that I need to cook more, use more and improve upon. After reading “How to make hummus: kitchen notes from a chickpea pedant,” to settle the debate on what should be included in a hummus recipe, I was inspired and made a big batch of hummus following this Ottolenghi’s formula. This basic hummus is essential to my living pantry.
Meanwhile, fresh kale from the farmers’ market looks so fantastic, green and ravishing, I want to put it in every dish I make. Smooth homemade hummus together with the fresh kale sealed the deal for me to make this Donna Hay dish, bringing everything together, in the week when Hay is the featured chef at IHCC. This dish highlights perfectly the signature style of Donna Hay: contemporary, simple yet sophisticated.
Baked sweet potatoes are easy enough to do. Even with dried chickpea, a big bowl of hummus can be simply put together without much fuss. Just give it some time to simmer until tender. Then there is the sweet caramelized onion that “makes everything taste better,” according to my husband. The most tricky part of the dish is the crispy kale which requires tossing with salt, pepper and olive oil and then baking in a 400°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes. The margin for error is rather small. It takes me two trials to get the crispy texture I wanted, through and through. I believe the key is to get very fresh kale. Anything less than the freshest kale makes for an unevenly browned and chewy, instead of light and crunchy, kale chips after about a 10-minute bake. Stand by and watch carefully during the last few minutes in the oven. Kale chips, done right, can be addictive.
Not long ago, I bought a bag of kale chips from the store. They lacked the crispy texture and the flavor was off putting. The bag languished in the cupboard, uneaten and unloved. I was hoping to redeem the less-than-desirable kale chips experience with a better homemade version. After making it in my own kitchen, I’m convinced that baked crispy kale is a world away from anything commercially available and simply cannot be packaged in a bag. They are too fragile, too ephemeral to be bagged.
One thing for sure, I’m more than pleased to have found and made a super smooth version of hummus and topped it with some delectable crispy kale, and served on baked sweet potatoes. They make an exciting as well as whimsical centerpiece of a seriously substantial meal with meat, fish or vegetable.
|Ingredients: dried chickpea, baking soda, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and water|
|Easier to get evenly crisped kale leaves with baby kale|
|Perfectly crisped kale leaf|