My husband hates kale. Almost all kinds. But he thought this was good. That should tell you this isn’t your average kale recipe! I adapted this from my local organic farm CSA, and it was a hit at our house. You can make it dairy free without the cheese, it just won’t be as thick. Enjoy, it’s like a great spinach quiche sans crust.
Fennel, Kale and Rice Gratin
Gluten free, Low Carb, (can be dairy free, see below)
large bunch kale, stemmed and washed
(you can use curly kale, like above OR lacinto kale, which looks more like a flat big leaf spinach, either one works. I like the flat one best)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium bulbs fennel, trimmed, quartered, cored and chopped (about 2 cups chopped)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup chopped fresh dill (or 1½ T dried dill)
½ cup coconut milk (the kind in the carton, not the can)
1 cup cooked rice, preferably short-grain (I used jasmine)
3 ounces baby swiss cheese, grated (3/4 cup)
Sprinkle of almond flour, or chopped nuts (or a mixture of breadcrumbs) and freshly grated Parmesan (optional, and it won’t be gluten free if you use breadcrumbs)
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, add a generous amount of salt and add kale. Blanch for 2 to 3 minutes, remove from the water with a deep fry skimmer or a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of cold water. Drain and, taking the greens up by the handful, squeeze hard to expel excess water. Chop medium-fine or cut in thin ribbons. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes, and add fennel. Cook, stirring often, until the fennel begins to soften. Add salt to taste and continue to cook, stirring often, until the fennel is very tender and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and kale, stir together for another minute, then stir in dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Oil a 9 x 13 inch pan. Beat eggs in a large bowl and whisk in the coconut milk. Add ½ to 1 tsp salt to taste. Stir in fennel and kale mixture, rice and cheese, and combine well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Scrape into baking dish. Sprinkle almond flour over the top if using, and drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of oil. Bake 30 minutes, until set and the top and sides are beginning to color. Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. This is good hot, warm, or room temperature.