- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Delicate greens, such as lettuce and arugula, always have a place on the dinner table. During the fall, however, you’re in for a special treat.

This is the peak season for kale, a hardy green with a slightly nutty taste and toothsome texture.

If you’re shopping for kale at a farmers market, you can identify it by its thick stems and large jagged leaves. To show that you’re really kale savvy, ask about the weather conditions. The flavor of kale actually improves when the frost hits it. A brief cold snap makes the green taste sweeter.

For all its charms, kale isn’t a vegetable I would recommend serving plain because the flavor is assertive. Instead, I suggest kale in a dish that has some fat to round out the taste. That’s why kale is often used in recipes with bacon, pancetta, cheese or eggs.

For a brunch entree, make a frittata with kale, eggs, bacon and Romano cheese. Many frittata recipes call for baking the eggs in a 350-degree oven, but I prefer cooking the dish almost to the finish point on top of the stove, then broiling for a few seconds to brown. Choose the method you prefer.

Autumn kale frittata

8 large kale leaves

Water

4 bacon slices

4 eggs

1 tablespoon milk or half-and-half

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons grated Romano cheese

Fold kale in half on the rib. Place on a cutting board and cut out the thick rib portion. Coarsely chop leaves.

Place kale in a small pot with cup water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. Press out all liquid. Set aside in a bowl.

Meanwhile, fry bacon slices in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Remove to a paper towel to drain. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon bacon drippings. Add eggs to kale and beat. Add milk, red pepper flakes and pepper. Cut bacon strips into 1-inch pieces and stir into eggs.

Reheat bacon drippings if cold. Pour egg mixture into skillet. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes or until eggs just begin to set but are still raw in the center. Lift up edges of egg with a spatula and allow raw egg to run under and cook. When eggs are almost set, sprinkle on cheese.

Place skillet 4 inches under broiler and broil for 20 seconds or until cheese melts and eggs are completely cooked. Remove from broiler. Cut frittata into 4 wedges. Makes 2 servings.

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