Kale Panini with Pickled Peppers
January 29, 2012 § 2 Comments
The night before my sister headed back to a new semester at Rhodes, she, our mother, and I made these incredible kale panini. The recipe is another from Andrea Reusing’s Cooking in the Moment, and in fact, we had these sandwiches on the side of her delicious red lentil soup. They complimented each other so well, I may not ever be able to make one without the other after having them together.
My favorite part of the panini was the pickled peppers. They add the perfect surprise of heat and vinegar amidst the hearty kale and creamy cheese. They’re also incredibly easy to prepare and are a valuable garnish to have on hand for other dishes that may be in need of a little kick (I’m thinking soups, quesadillas, and other latin-inspired meals).
We used anaheim and banana peppers for our panini (a mix of hot and sweet). Even if you’re afraid of using hot peppers, keep in mind that the pickling process tones down the heat, and the heat that’s left is balanced out by the rich flavors in the panini.
This was only half the kale if you can believe it:
…but it cooks down pretty fast.
These pressed sandwiches are somewhere in between comfort food and health food: both an all-grown-up grilled cheese and a great way to get your winter greens. Looks like Andrea is two for two.
What you need:
- pickled chile peppers: sweet or hot chile peppers, distilled white vinegar, sugar, and salt
- kale (about 1 lb)
- extra virgin olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- rustic bread
- goat cheese (or feta)
- salt & pepper
What you do:
- At least a day in advance of making the panini, chop a handful of chile peppers, seeds and all, and place them in a small jar. (The peppers may be hot, semi-hot, or sweet, depending on your preference.) Combine 1 c distilled white vinegar, 2 t salt, and 2 t sugar and whisk until the salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Pour this pickling liquid over the peppers and secure the jar with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator.
- In a large pot, blanch the kale in salted boiling water for 3 min. (Depending on the amount of kale, you may want to do this is 2 batches.) Set the kale in a colander until it has cooled, then use your hands or a kitchen towel to squeeze out the excess moisture. Roughly chop the kale, set it in a bowl, and drizzle 1-2 T each extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. When you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches, season the kale with salt.
- Preheat a grill pan or griddle over medium heat and assemble the sandwiches. Lay out several slices of bread, and top with a generous amount of kale and cheese. Add pickled chile peppers to taste, then top each with another slice of bread.
- Oil your pan, and grill the sandwiches for about 5 min on one side, and about 3 min on the other (or until both sides are golden brown). Use another pan or heavy plate to press the sandwiches as they cook on the grill.