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Leek and Fennel Frittata with Kale Chips

I am sure that I am the last person on the planet to make kale chips. I have always thought of it as frivolous to make something called 'chips' and pretend it was a vegetable. I felt it was like calling potato chips a full serving of vegetables in your daily food plan.

With most of a package of kale in the refrigerator and only a few more days to cook before I return home, it was worth the experiment. I thought they might be a great accompaniment to the frittata I was planning for lunch.

I was not as excited about them as was Trish. My sister absolutely loved them. There is hardly any fat added and they cook up in a little over 10 minutes. That is a fast preparation for kale.

Frittata, crustless quiche or omelet. What is the difference? They are so much the same. A frittata can be almost anything that is in the refrigerator so it was no surprise that I had everything I needed for this recipe. I changed it up a bit to use some leftover brie. This was more than the 2 of us could eat for lunch.

Leek and Fennel Frittata
Serves 2-3

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fennel, trimmed, quartered, cored and chopped
1 cup leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned and chopped
1/2 tsp salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup grated pecorino
1/2 cup brie cheese, cut into cubes

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet, and add the fennel and leeks. Cook, stirring often, until the leeks and fennel are very tender and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Add the wine and cook until the moisture has cooked off, about 5 minutes. Then stir in the dill. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground white pepper, and remove the skillet from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a large gratin or baking dish with butter. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then stir in the brie and fennel mixture. Combine well. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake 40-50 minutes until the frittata is set and the top and sides are beginning to colour. Remove from the oven, and allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. This is delicious hot, warm or at room temperature, and makes a delicious side dish with roast pork, lamb or chicken. It also makes a light and savoury brunch dish.

Note: The filling can be made up to two days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. When you're ready to serve the gratin, grease the pan, add the filling and bake as instructed.

Kale Chips

For a spicy kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper along with the paprika. Or use smoked paprika for another flavour profile.

    6 cups (1.5 L) torn stemmed kale
    2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil
    1 pinch salt
    1 pinch sweet paprika

Toss together kale, oil, salt and paprika; arrange in single layer on parchment paper–lined baking sheet.

Bake in 350ºF (180ºC) oven until crisp and dark green, 12 to 15 minutes.

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