Excerpted from Salad Daze:
We’re guessing the number of Americans who eat McDonald’s hashbrowns for breakfast every day would scare us. But we also understand. A hot, perfectly cooked potato with tasty grease and lotsa salt is exactly the kind of carboload that will get you down the road. Knowing this—and also recognizing that we don’t want to weigh 300 pounds and be dying with caked arteries—we twist something like hash browns into a good-for-you green salad. In this case, sugars (from the molasses) and salty spice-caked fingerlings get fried, and then handfuls of flavor-sponge kale cooked in wine and grease-drippings follow right behind. We like to think that kale scrubs our arteries clean. Please, scientists, don’t conduct a study to prove us wrong.
2 pounds fingerling potatoes
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon smoked salt
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoon dark molasses
1 small bunch curly kale
1 small bunch purple kale
1/4 cup Madeira wine
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
1. Prepare the potatoes first. Rinse or scrub off any dirt and cut each fingerling into halves, slicing lengthwise. Throw in a pot of salted water and bring to boil on high heat.
2. While you wait, rip the kale, removing the rib and stem and shredding into large but manageable pieces, then wash and dry. Set aside.
3. As soon as the potato pot hits a rolling boil, remove from heat and let stand for two to three minutes, then drain and cool in cold water. Finally, drain again and let sit to dry. Prepare a spice rub by mixing together cornmeal, paprika, salt, and smoked salt. In a bowl, toss the potatoes with the spices until fully covered.
4. Put a large skillet on medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, toss potatoes into the pan. Shake the pan firmly every thirty seconds to keep potatoes from sticking. Let cook for several minutes, then slowly add molasses, evenly distributing on potatoes. Continue to cook and shake until some potatoes develop a dark brown caramelized color. Remove potatoes to a bowl and return skillet to high heat without washing.
5. Add remaining oil and sliced shallots to the skillet, stirring and cooking until slightly brown. Add the Madeira wine and wait several seconds before adding all the kale and covering with a lid. Let cook for two to three minutes or until kale has cooked down by half. Salt the kale to taste before plating. Form a bed of kale on each plate topped by several potatoes.
Beverage: Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch
Soundtrack: Dinosaur Jr. “Freak Scene”