Date Night: Caitlin’s Baked Kale with Cheesy Polenta

By guest writer Caitlin Shetterly

This is the first meal I ever made my husband, Dan. And it’s the perfect meal for the feast of getting to know a new person. It’s easy, light and requires no skilled labor so if you’re nervous or want to focus on what the other person is saying, this is your dinner!

  • 1 bunch green leafy or black lacinato kale
    coarse salt–kosher or sea.
    pepper
    good olive oil
  • 1 package polenta–I prefer the kind that comes pre-made in that sausage wrapper
    butter
    Parmesan, freshly grated.

Red wine, something easy (and not too expensive) like a nice French table wine, maybe a Bordeaux.

Take the kale and wash it, cut off about an inch of the ends and put  it layered one leaf thick over a thick bottomed casserole dish. Sprinkle GENEROUSLY with olive oil and also be loose with your hand as you sprinkle the salt. Add a little pepper and set aside. Preheat the oven to 450. When it’s hot pop the kale into the oven.

Have a glass of nice red wine.

As the kale starts to crisp along the edges, start cooking the package of polenta as per the instructions and make sure to use a fork or a potato masher to break up clumps. While chatting, continue to stir the polenta so it stays creamy. Then, when it’s got no chunks and all golden and bubbly, stir in a big hunk of butter–2-3 tablespoons.
By now the outer edges of the kale should be very crispy–in an almost potato chippy way –and the center of each piece should be very hot and soft. This means it’s ready.
Pull the kale out and grate 1/3 -1/2 cup of freshly grated parmesan into the polenta.

Serve steaming puddles of polenta on simple, non-fussy plates and pile 2-3 leaves of kale per plate on top of the puddle. Serve more wine and sit down to enjoy together. I usually have some extra coarse salt and a pepper grinder on the table.
Now, forget about the food as anything more than sustenance for the ultimate journey of the evening – the gift of enjoying each other!  •

Editor’s note: Guest writer Caitlin Shetterly is the author of Made for You And Me – the subject of  yesterday’s post.  Caitlin simply rocks.

About Epicurious Travelers

Ms. Margolis-Pineo created EpicuriousTravelers.com to showcase her published work and ongoing food-travel adventures. Based in Portland, Maine, she travels frequently both in her home state and north to Montreal, her favorite North American city. Although she refuses to use the word "foodie," she has an abiding interest in food and wine. Ms. Margolis-Pineo is also a graphic designer, giving her site a decided edge in an oversaturated blogosphere. New contacts, "likes," subscribers and content are welcome!
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