a British-Bittman-Guatemalan-Boston brunch

Jael and Julie were in town from Brooklyn, celebrating Jael’s birthday, so yesterday we had them over for brunch. I had a vision: a baking dish full of kale and black beans, with eggs baked on top, served with salsa, California chevre, and corn tortillas. I realize that it doesn’t sound like much, but it turned out fabulous.

And despite the fancy presentation, this is not far off a typical breakfast in the Guatemalan campo, where the kale is replaced with unspecified wild greens usually referred to as monte: brush.

I am inordinately fond of kale, so I am told, because of my long exile in Boston. I am also told that I can make it taste like there’s bacon in it, even when there isn’t. The secrets to kale are thus: season liberally with salt, garlic, and red pepper flakes, and sauté, do not boil. That’s all. (Lemon zest and unsweetened coconut flakes also do not hurt as seasonings. If you’d rather show a Texan influence than a Boston, use collards instead. It’s basically the same plant.)

Black beans, as I’ve said before, take a little extra work, even if you start them in the pressure cooker. The ideal pot of black beans is half broken down and luxuriating in a pool of reduced bean juice. With salt.

The tortillas were a pound and a quarter of fresh-milled and fresh-cooked goodness from La Palma. The four of us were just three short of finishing off the stack.

Thanks go out to Ian Greer (living in London) for giving me idea of greens with eggs baked on top, and to Mark Bittman for coincidentally featuring baked eggs and giving me a temperature to bake them at: 375 F. My eggs baked unevenly and took twice as long as his suggested 12 minutes, but I figure I could even that out by baking in ramekins instead of a big baking dish. It’s just that my ramekins looked so small when it came time to stuff them with kale.

For dessert, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, to celebrate the fact that while it may have been 7 degrees in Brooklyn, it was 67 here.

2 Responses to “a British-Bittman-Guatemalan-Boston brunch”

  1. January 24, 2011 at 11:45

    Just salt with your black beans or salt and other seasonings?

    • January 25, 2011 at 10:16

      Just salt in this batch, but I’ve been known to throw in a packet of Sazon Goya. I haven’t really mastered seasoning them while using the pressure cooker, but I’m thinking that when I cook down the liquid from the next batch, I’ll throw in some onion, too.

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