This recipe is a bit involved, as there are three separate components to prepare, however I promise that the extra time in the kitchen will be well worth it. It tastes like the kind of meal you’d expect from a nice restaurant. There is nothing familiar or standard about this breakfast, or lunch, or dinner – I’d happily eat it for any meal.
First things first, for all you kale-haters out there; the kale is transformed into something very un-kale-like. It’s first frozen and then cooked, rendering the fibrous texture null and void. Then it’s whizzed up with cream cheese and lemon, resulting in a side dish that could easily convert the kale hesitant among us. Feel free to sub kale for swiss chard or spinach. The eggs in this dish are elevated by frying them in sesame seeds, giving them a nutty finish. Then top it all off by crisping up some garlic and ginger, this step is not to be missed! I know it feels kind of extra, perhaps even a little annoying, but stick with it. Please!
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
1 serrano (or other hot chile), roughly chopped
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen kale, unthawed
3/4 cup water
Fine sea salt
4 ounces cold cream cheese, cubed
Zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper
1 splash any milk, if needed
Fried eggs with ginger-garlic crisp
6 large garlic cloves
1-inch pieces fresh ginger (both in length and width)
1/4 cup neutral oil (like sunflower or avocado)
4 teaspoons untoasted sesame seeds (white or a mix of black and white)
4 to 8 large eggs
Flaky sea salt
4 scallions (green parts only), thinly sliced
Make the creamed greens: Melt the butter in a 9-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the diced onion, garlic, and serrano and cook till the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the frozen kale and water to the pan, along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cover with a lid and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, till the kale is soft and fully thawed, about 10 minutes.
Whilst the kale is cooking, make the ginger-garlic crisp. Using a mandolin and lots of care, thinly slice the garlic (to about the thickness of a penny). Slice the ginger into coins the same thickness as the garlic, then cut into thin strips. (If you have a steady hand and a sharp knife that will do too, in a pinch.)
Transfer the cooked kale mixture and any residual liquid to a food processor (a blender works too). Add the cream cheese, lemon zest and juice and process briefly till the cream cheese melts and the mixture is mostly smooth. Season to taste with more salt and loads of black pepper. (If it seems too thick, feel free to add a splash or two of any milk.)
Dump the sliced ginger and garlic into a cold 8-inch nonstick skillet along with the oil. Cook over low heat, swirling the pan on occasion, till the garlic just turns a pale golden brown. Watch the bubbles of oil—as the water evaporates from the ginger and garlic, the bubbles will become large and languid, an indication that it’s close to being done. Pour the ginger-garlic crisp into a strainer set over a small bowl to arrest the cooking.
Fry the eggs: Use the same nonstick skillet from making the ginger-garlic crisp (no need to wash it out). Heat the pan over medium-high heat and, if you need to grease the pan, you can use the strained oil from the crisp. Sprinkle the sesame seeds where the eggs will land. Crack the eggs over the seeds, season with salt, and cook to your desired doneness. (Depending on how many eggs you’re cooking, you might need to do this in batches.)
Spoon the creamed kale into 4 bowls and slide the eggs onto each serving. Scatter the ginger-garlic crisp and sliced scallions over the eggs. Serve with hot sauce.