Sweet with a hint of spice and earth, Tuscan kale belongs to the Brassica napus family (along with cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts). Its long blue-green leaves are bright and crinkly.
On Tuesday afternoon, we picked up our farm share and brought home two bunches of Tuscan kale (also known as black kale, dinosaur kale, and Laciniato), and immediately went to work making kale chips and fava bean spread.
It helps that I planned ahead for this dish by soaking dried beans that I bought from the bulk bin at the co-op in several inches of water the night before. After I woke up the next morning, I drained and rinsed the fava beans and removed their skins before cooking them for three hours in several inches of water with a bay leaf and one-half stick of kombu.
When pierced with a fork, the beans were very tender and almost mashed themselves. Reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooked bean water, I drained the beans then removed the bay leaf and kombu before refrigerating them.
Then the kale arrived and I knew exactly what to do with it. Rinse, drain, and cut the dark leaves on either side of its lateral stem. Then cut each leaf in half cross-wise.
The kale was dressed lightly in olive oil and sea salt, baked at 250°F for thirty minutes or until they turned toasty and crisp. Just to let you know, you will not stop with one or two chips.
Yet, this leafy green chip is no scooper. Instead it demands a spread instead of a dip. Kale chips are papery thin with the slightest crunch and mineral flavor. Paired with Tuscan-style fava beans, the flavors are a succulent match.
Spread the kale chips with a thin coat of fava beans mashed with: garlic, green scallions, crushed rosemary, olive oil, bean water, lemon juice and its zest, a sprinkling of sea salt and cracked black pepper, and finished with finely chopped fresh parsley leaves.
Serve this dish as a hearty appetizer or for dinner on a weeknight with a few swigs of wine.