You won’t know that you are eating kale with this dish. The delicious cheesy pikelets successfully hide the vegetable and it is only if you focus can you detect the crunch and taste of the thinly sliced greens.
It is quite an oily dish with heaps of butter and melted cheese. You might like to place on a kitchen paper towel after cooking. They are best slightly warm rather than hot. Cheesy and buttery – what can’t be good? But not something for every day, despite the kale.
The recipe is from Plenty More, one of Ottolenghi’s books. I have made it egg-free in my version as we don’t use eggs in our kitchen. You can see the original recipe here, or check his book.
Similar recipes include Cauliflower and Cumin Fritters, Aloo Tikki, Zucchini and Sweetcorn Fritters, Crispy Couscous and Saffron Cakes, Eggplant and Kale Pakora, Asian Kale with Sesame and Shallots, and Garlic- Chilli Kale with Spring Onion Dip.
Kale and Cheese Pikelets
170g self-raising flour
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 Tblspn chickpea flour
0.25 tspn eno or baking soda
150ml whole milk
50g kale, thinly sliced, blanched for a minute, drained and squeezed dry
60g unsalted butter, melted
150g cottage cheese
50g stilton, broken into 1cm chunks
15g dill, roughly chopped
1 Tblspn olive oil
0.25 tspn chilli flakes
100g sour cream or unflavoured Desi or Greek yoghurt
Heat the oven to 180C.
For the sauce, put the oil in a small saucepan with the chilli. Cook on a medium-high heat for a minute (take care not to burn the chilli), then set aside to cool. Tip into a small bowl, stir in the sour cream and a pinch of salt, and refrigerate.
For the batter, put the flour, chickpea flour and lemon zest in a bowl with some sea salt. Make a well in the centre and add the milk and eno. Combine the mixture with a wooden spoon, until you have a thick, almost dough-like batter. Add the kale, half the butter (yes, really), cottage cheese, stilton and herbs. Mix again.
Heat 20g butter in a large nonstick saute pan on a medium heat. When it starts to foam, ladle in four round pikelets of batter, each about 9cm in diameter and 1.5cm thick (this will use up about half the batter). Cover the pan and fry for 3 – 5 minutes on low heat or until until golden-brown on the other side. Gently turn over and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes.. Transfer to a large baking tray and repeat with the remaining butter and batter.
Bake for 15 minutes, until cooked through. Put 2 pikelets on each plate and serve warm with a generous spoonful of the sauce on top or to the side.