So this recipe came out of my eagerness to surprise, my ignorance about puff pastries, and my sister’s brilliant quick thinking.
For our New Year’s Eve cocktail party, my menu included a couple of champagne cocktails, a cheese platter, and hot salami bread bites, a super easy, super tasty app I learned from my friend Melissa whose grandmother makes a pepperoni version.
But I wanted to add something special. SAVEUR tweeted earlier that day about New Year’s Eve apps, which included a kale tart. I’d been on a kale kick lately so the main ingredient caught my attention. The filling looked simple to make and I’d never used puff pastry before. Just enough panache and risk to make it interesting.
So I bought a box of frozen puff pastry. I got it home. I opened said box and there was a brick inside. The said box said the brick needed at least two hours to a whole night to defrost. It was 6:30pm. Our guests were arriving at 7pm.
What do I now? I didn’t sound as calm as I read. My sister, who was rolling up the spicy salami bread bite as per my instructions, suggested filling the remaining pizza dough with the kale mixture. It was inspired. But would it work?
Have you ever gone grocery shopping or liquor shopping on New Year’s Eve in Mississauga, Ontario? It’s hell. Hell is about to come to Earth and people shop for the end of days. I had had to do both that day, so by the time I was faced with frozen pastry and orphaned ruffage, I just didn’t give a crap.
There was no fingers crossing when I put the kale filled bread roll into the oven. Whatever popped out would pop out. All I wanted at this point was my first cocktail.
As it turned out, the kale bread bites were heavenly. (And you don’t have to go through party planning, frozen pastry hell to get it.)
Kale Bread Bites with Fennel and Olives (Seriously adapted from Saveur)
Makes 2 rolls, 8-10 bites per roll
3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium bulb fennel, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium bunch kale, stems removed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese, plus more for topping
1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Fresh ground black pepper
1 package fresh pizza dough
Heat oil is a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 3 minutes. Add fennel and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 minutes. Lower heat; add kale, don’t stir in but just cover pan and cook until kale is soft and wilted, 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir in kale, and fold in feta, olives, and parsley. Season with pepper to taste.
Roll out half of the pizza dough and flatten it out onto parchment paper lined baking sheet while the dough is cold. If you let the dough warm up by leaving it out, the the dough’s elasticity will kick in, making it a bitch to keep rolled out. Roll out into a square.
Spread a not-too-thick layer of the filling and roll up the dough. Lay the log with the seam side down and tuck the ends underneath.
Bake for 30 minutes. Let the log cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheet before slicing into bite sized pieces. I like to display it with the filling showing up because it looks so damn fine.