Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Garlic-Chilli Curly Kale

Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Garlic-Chilli Curly Kale

We are lovers of dips, as our recipe collection will attest and usually there is some dip, spread, sauce or puree in the fridge waiting to be spread, dipped, drizzled or smeared onto other food items – toast, bruschetta, soup, roasted sweetcorn, crudites, crackers, chips – whatever sits in the kitchen cupboards, fridge or on the stove.

This recipe makes its dip component from roasted garlic and charred spring onions mixed with cream cheese and sour cream (how 1970’s!!). Then the dip is served with some garlicky-chilly curly kale. But the dip can also be used for many other purposes – spread on bruschetta or corn, used with carrot sticks (Yum!), with juicy wedges of tomato – so many ways to use it.

The dip can also be made with salad onions or calcot onions. Remember when cooking the onions that they need to be really charred/burnt. The more burnt, the more flavoursome and smoky they will taste.

This recipe comes from Nopi, Ottolenghi’s restaurant in London. The book Nopi contains recipes from the restaurant, and many of them are adaptable to the home kitchen. Some are more complex, but all are inspirational. This particular recipe is very easy to make.

It is Ottolenghi Cook the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Spring Onion Greens Salad, Asian Kale with Sesame and Crispy ShallotsCrispy Kale Chips, and White Bean, Sage and Garlic Spread.

Browse all of our Dips here, and all of our Kale recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Nopt are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Garlic-Chilli Curly Kale

Burnt Spring Onion Dip with Garlic-Chilli Curly Kale


spring onion dip
1 head of garlic
2 Tblspn olive oil
150g spring onions (about 12–14), ends trimmed, then sliced in half, lengthways (110g)
1.5 Tblspn sunflower oil
150g cream cheese
110g soured cream
coarse sea salt and black pepper

curly kale
90ml olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 large red chillies, de-seeded and thinly sliced
550g curly kale, washed, tough stems removed, cut widthways into 3–4cm slices (450g)
2 Tblspn lemon juice

Heat the oven to 220°C.

Slice off the top quarter of the head of garlic with a serrated knife and discard. Place the garlic in the centre of a square of foil with 1 Tblspn of the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Wrap up the garlic, place it on a baking sheet, and roast for 30 minutes, until soft. Set aside and, when cool enough to touch, squeeze out the garlic cloves, discard the skin, and, using the flat side of a sharp knife, crush to form a purée. Set aside until ready to use.

Place the green onions in a bowl and brush with the sunflower oil. Sprinkle over a little salt and a good grind of black pepper. Place a small grill pan over high heat and ventilate your kitchen. When the pan is smoking hot, add the green onions and grill for 5 to 6 minutes, turning halfway through, until black and burnt all over. (Alternately, you can broil the scallions or use a gas or charcoal grill.) Set aside to cool, then finely chop.

(Alternatively the garlic and the spring onions can be cooked in the BBQ/grill. I use a covered BBQ (WeberQ), heat the grill pan, add the onions and cook until well charred. At the same time the foil package with the garlic sits on a rack or upturned vegetable basket or foil pan, and the garlic will cook there happily.)

Transfer the chopped onions to a bowl and add the cream cheese, sour cream, the remaining Tblspn of olive oil, the roasted garlic purée, and a little sea salt. Mix well until smooth and set aside until ready to use.

Put the oil for the kale into a large sauté pan and place over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and chilli slices and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until crisp and golden brown.  Add the kale, along with a sprinkling of salt and a good grind of black pepper, and cook for 3 – 5 minutes or so — you might need to do this in two or three batches, depending on the size of your pan — stirring often, until the kale is cooked but still retains a bite. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, and serve warm on a large platter or individual starter plates, with dollops of the green onion dip spooned on top or in a bowl along side.

recipe notes and alternatives
Add a little of the chopped green tops of the spring onions to the dip.

Regular Kale or Calvero Nero can be used in place of the Curly Kale.

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