I love kale. I love it baked into chips, massaged into a tender salad, sauteed with garlic, and thrown into a cannellini bean soup. It's an amazingly healthy green, packed full of vitamins and minerals. But one of the things I recently learned was that combining kale (and many other greens) with citrus makes the iron in the greens more available to our bodies. So now when I make kale I try to always add some kind of citrus. Since kumquats have been showing up in our stores over the last couple weeks, they've been my new citrus of choice. If you haven't tried them, you'll be surprised by the sweetness of the skin. In fact if you don't eat the skin, the fruit will be way too sour to really enjoy eating on it's own. For this recipe, I combined a number of my favorite kale-pals. I tossed a bunch of pumpkin seeds in olive oil, smokey Hungarian paprika and cayenne pepper, toasted them in a dry pan, ground them up and added them to the crust. The filling is a combination of kale, ricotta cheese, pecorino, eggs and kumquats. And the topping is a streusel made of fried pancetta, fresh bread crumbs and pecorino cheese. Lots of steps here, I'll admit - and several that can be done ahead of time, but well worth it. Even my husband, who is beyond tired of kale for dinner these days, asked for seconds. —TheWimpyVegetarian
6 tartletss (5" tarts)
Pumpkin Seed Crust
1 1/2 ounces
pumpkin seeds toasted in olive oil, salt, Hungarian paprika, and cayenne powder
toasted spicy pumpkin seeds (see above recipe in the crust recipe)
lemon zest from 1 lemon
In This Recipe
Pumpkin Seed Crust
For a healthy snack to have hanging around the house, I regularly toss 1 cup of pumpkin seeds with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon Hungarian paprika, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper and toast them in a dry pan. I toss them onto salads, pasta and just eat them on their own. Take 1 1/2 ounces of them and grind it up in a food processor until fairly fine (it's ok if they're a little coarse).
Add the flour and salt to the ground up pumpkin seeds and process to evenly mix. Add the cold butter all at once and pulse until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the egg yolk and water and pulse until the mixture just holds together when you pinch it (about 10-15 pulses).
Place on a piece of wax paper and mold into a disk using your fingertips. Wrap it up and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough to 1/8" thinkness on a lightly floured work surface. Line the tartlet molds, removing any excess dough that reaches above the side of the molds. Set aside while you make the filling.
Kale and Kumquat Filling with Pancetta Streusel
Preheat the oven to 350F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Once the tough stems of the kale leaves are removed, layer the leaves on top of each other and slice horizontally into 1 - 2 inch slices. Add to the pot of boiling water and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, squeeze all the water out of the kale using a towel and place in a bowl with the kumquats. Mix well.
Saute the pancetta until crispy. Remove and set aside for the Streusel Topping. Add the onion, shallot, salt, Hungarian paprika and cayenne pepper to the pan. Add a little olive oil if there isn't enough fat from the pancetta. Saute until just softened, about 4-5 minutes. Mix into the kale - kumquat mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine the ricotta and Pecorino cheeses and the eggs. When the kale mixture has cooled, add the cheese and egg mixture to it. Mix well and pour into the tart shells.
Combine the pancetta, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and lemon zest to form a streusel-like topping and add to the tops of the tarts.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the centers of the tarts are set. Let cool in the tart pan for 15 minutes before serving.