Kale “lasagna” with tomatoes & roasted red peppers

Kale “lasagna”

I’ve always had a habit of becoming irrationally fond of inanimate objects. An oddly shaped twig, a little sketch I made, a blank book, a pen, an acorn. The list goes on and on. I would imbue them with importance, with personality, with magical powers, almost. At the moment it’s a little quince. I’ve said in the past that I love everything about quinces, and that remains true. I love their flavor, their scent, their name, their name in french (coing), the fact that you need to give them a lot of attention to make them palatable, the fact that they start out quite drab, but become lovely and rosy when you cook them. We have a little quince bush in our backyard. It’s a cutting from a tree by David’s aunts old house. We didn’t think it would live, but it’s doing quite well. It even produced a few little fruits this year, its second year with us. The fruit didn’t ripen, though. It fell to the ground – tiny, pale and very hard. It smelled nice, so I held onto it. I put it beside me on the desk, and there it sat for a few days. I worked all weekend, and Monday morning I thought about the quince. I couldn’t see it anywhere, but I could smell it, unmistakable and sweet. David had moved it to the top of a nearby bookshelf to save it from the boys, who had been playing at my desk all weekend. The poor thing is smaller, shriveled, soft, starting to turn brown in spots. But it still smells intoxicatingly good! The uglier it gets, the sweeter it smells. And I’ve become fond of the wrinkled little thing. I feel like a swooning lady with her smelling salts, I hold it to my nose and it elevates my spirits. It’s like autumn in a tiny rotting bundle.

So…kale! We got some kale from our CSA, and some red peppers, and some eggplant and of course, some more tomatoes! I decided to boil up the kale, and treat it like lasagna noodles. I washed it and removed the stems, but kept the leaves long. I boiled them for about twenty minutes, so they were quite soft, but still bright, and not falling apart. And I stretched it out like lasagna noodles, layering it with ricotta, roasted peppers, fresh tomatoes. I had some leftover eggplant anyone can love, so I added a layer of that. It was delicious, but if you don’t have it, or have time to make it, this dish will still be very delicious! I broiled a red pepper, let it steam in a covered bowl, and then removed the skin and seeds. you want to be sure to let it sit for a while, and discard any moisture that collects. As with any lasagna that contains vegetables, you want to be sure the veggies are quite dry before you add them, or the lasagna will form a broth. This broth happens to be quite tasty, though, so if you have some bread to sop it up, you’re golden!

Here’s Bill Withers with Ain’t No Sunshine, because it’s a beautiful song, because it’s a rainy day, because I miss my dog.

1 bunch kale, cleaned, stems removed
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated mozzarella
2 eggs
1 t each oregano, thyme and rosemary
1 clove garlic – toasted or roasted, minced or squished
small handful fresh basil, washed and chopped
1 large red pepper – roasted – skins and seeds removed, chopped – drained quite well – discard any juices that form as it cools.
1 cup eggplant anyone can love
2 medium-sized tomatoes – seeds squeezed out, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
olive oil for drizzling

Boil a large pot of salted water, and drop the kale leaves in. Don’t chop them. Boil for about twenty minutes, till they’re quite soft, but still bright, and not falling apart.

Preheat the oven to 425

Drain the kale very very well – you want it to be quite dry. You can spread it on tea towels if you like.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ricotta, mozzarella, herbs, eggs, and garlic till quite smooth.

Lightly butter a small casserole or baking dish. Put a layer of eggplant on the bottom. Top with a about 1/3 of the ricotta, a handful of peppers, a layer of tomato slices, and then a layer of kale, spread out like lasagna noodles.

Top the kale with eggplant, then cheese, peppers, tomatoes, more kale. Repeat the steps till you’re out of everything. End with a layer of kale and a layer of tomato slices. Drizzle the top with olive oil. (You can and with a layer of grated mozzarella if you like, it will melt and get bubbly, which is always nice!)

Bake, uncovered, for about half an hour.

Let it sit a moment before you serve. If there’s a lot of liquid in the bottom, dip some bread in it, it’s very tasty!!

4 thoughts on “Kale “lasagna” with tomatoes & roasted red peppers

    • Wow! I’d never heard of bletting. Completely fascinating!! I think this particular quince is probably too small to ever be eaten, but it certainly smells sweet. What an interesting word! Thank you!

      I was just hit by such a wave of missing my dog this week! It’s strange how it comes and goes. Maybe because the boys are back in school. I’m glad to hear it gets better!

  1. Around here lots of the houses have ornamental quince bushes growing in their yards. They have a few tiny green fruit that turn yellow in the fall. My son and I discovered them years ago when we walked to his elementary school. Every year since then I’ve gathered them in my pocket as I walk by and put them in a little Japanese bowl (with quinces on it!) on my bedside table. I don’t think I’d be able to get to sleep in the fall without the intoxicating smell of quince. The aroma lasts almost 3 months. Fall is also when we found our Raymond (Maine coon cat) dead along the creek. I think he’d eaten a poisoned rat. Four years and we still miss him.

    • Beautiful story of the quinces.

      I’d like to think my little quince will last three months. I was thinking of sticking cloves in it, like you do with an orange to make a pomander, to preserve it.

      I’m sorry about your cat. Raymond is a perfect name for a cat. And what a sad way to go. I used to worry so much about the garbage Steenbeck would pick up, and what people might have put in it. She got very sick once, and I thought she might have eaten something sharp, but she recovered.

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