A few years ago I encountered this vegetable for the first time. Mounded on a table at Two Peas in a Pod Farm’s stand at the Saturday Santa Barbara farmers’ market were these petite round leafy greens.
After taking a closer look, I thought they looked somewhat like Brussels sprouts, but instead of tightly compact leaves, these were more structured in an open formation.
The sign by them, “kalelette,” suggested that they must be some sort of kale offspring. Indeed these kalettes were a Brussels sprout and kale hybrid vegetable.
Kalelette, when cooked, delivers a flavor profile similar to kale, however slightly nuttier with earthy undertones. There’s a nice little crunch toward the base where the sprout itself is connected to the Brussels sprout like stalk.
The best way to prepare kalelettes is either sautéed or roasted. They make for a wonderful side all on their own with a simple seasoning of salt and pepper, or when tossed with other seasonal vegetables.
This week I prepared a warm roasted kalelette and roasted beet salad.
I finished my salad with some crumbled chèvre that slightly melts and gives the final dish a wonderful creamy consistency. Roasting the kalelette also creates this nice crispy consistency that is textually pleasing when enjoying this dish.
Roasted Kalelette and Beet Salad
1 pound kalelette, rinsed and dried
2 beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
Olive oil, salt and pepper
3 ounces chèvre
1/4 cup sliced red onion or 2 green onions diced.
Optional: sliced pieces of navel orange.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, add kalelette and beets. Toss with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil, and put it in the oven.
Roast for about 30 minutes or until the beets are just tender and the kalelette is nice and crispy.
Place into bowls and top with chèvre and onion while still warm. Drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar if desired. You can also add a very light drizzle of your favorite salad dressing if you like.
Yield: 4 sides.