If most people told you that what your kale was missing was just a few blobs of onion dip, you’d probably nod kindly and then just go back to eating greens in all your usual ways, forgetting that the conversation had ever happened. But this kale isn’t just wilted like any old green—you sauté it quickly, with a lot of toasted garlic and chiles. Then you douse the kale in lemon juice—so the whole mess ends up spicy and loud and quite resilient, a place where swooping your fork through smokey trails of cool cream is welcome, even needed. Adapted slightly from NOPI: The Cookbook (Ten Speed, 2016). —Genius Recipes
6 to 8
For the green onion dip:
5 1/4 ounces
green onions (12 to 14), ends trimmed, then sliced in half lengthwise (3 3/4 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons
sunflower oil (or other neutral oil)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper
For the kale:
cloves garlic, thinly sliced
large fresh red chiles, seeded and thinly sliced
Heat the oven to 425°F/220°C (390°F/200°C convection).
Slice off the top quarter of the head of garlic with a serrated knife and discard. Place the garlic in the center of a square of foil with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Wrap up the garlic, place it on a baking sheet, and roast for 30 minutes, until soft. Set aside and, when cool enough to touch, squeeze out the garlic cloves, discard the skin, and, using the flat side of a sharp knife, crush to form a purée. Set aside until ready to use.
Place the green onions in a bowl and brush with the sunflower oil. Sprinkle over 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Place a small grill pan over high heat and ventilate your kitchen. When the pan is smoking hot, add the green onions and grill for 5 to 6 minutes, turning halfway through, until black and burnt all over. (Alternately, you can broil the scallions or use a gas or charcoal grill.) Set aside to cool, then finely chop. Transfer the onions to a bowl and add the cream cheese, sour cream, the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the roasted garlic purée, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix well and set aside until ready to use.
For the kale:
Put the oil for the kale into a large sauté pan and place over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chile slices and fry for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring constantly, until crisp and golden brown. (The frying chiles can make you cough, so it's helpful to turn on a fan!) Add the kale, along with 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and cook for 3 minutes—you might need to do this in two or three batches, depending on the size of your pan—stirring often, until the kale is cooked but still retains a bite. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, and serve warm on a large platter or individual starter plates, with dollops of the green onion dip spooned on top.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.