RECIPE: Garden Beignets and Crispy Leaves

Originally posted 05/02/2014 04:50PM

Aaron Rodgers Beer Cheese Soup
Jessica Largey

Garden Beignets and Crispy Leaves
Makes 18 to 20 Beignets

Beignet Centers
8 cups, tightly packed greens, including mustard, kale, and chard, stems removed
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. extra-virgin 
olive oil
½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed
2 oz. cheddar or Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated

1. In a heavy covered pan over low heat, sweat the greens and onion in the butter and oil  for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are very tender. Season with salt and cool to room temperature.

2. Finely chop the vegetables and, using your hands, mix in the cheese. Add more salt if needed. Roll into 1-inch-diameter balls, approximately 10 to 
12 grams each, cover with plastic wrap, and reserve in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Beignet Batter
2 tsp. active dry yeast
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp. whole milk, warmed to less than 
90°F
1 egg white, whisked to a light froth
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. 
all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt

1. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and set aside in a warm place for about 10 minutes to activate.

2. Combine the dry ingredients. Add the yeast mixture to the egg white. Whisk in the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is smooth. Proof at room temperature for about 1 hour. Extra batter—enough to coat a second batch of Beignet Centers—will hold for a few days in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.

Kale Chips
25 to 30 small (3- to 4-inch) kale leaves (black Toscano or red Russian)
1½ tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. nutritional yeast

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

2. Gently toss the kale leaves with just enough olive oil to coat them with a light film. Season to taste with salt and yeast. Place the leaves on a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes. Turn the leaves over, rotate the pan, and bake again for 5 minutes. Continue to turn and bake until crispy, 2 to 3 rotations. Store in a dry box.

To Serve:
Grapeseed oil, for-deep frying
2 tbsp. malt vinegar powder
1 oz. cheddar or Parmigiano-Reggiano

1. Heat the grapeseed oil for deep-frying to 350°F.

2. Using 2 spoons, thickly coat the chilled Beignet Centers in the Beignet Batter and fry in the grapeseed in small batches for a few minutes, turning and basting with oil, until golden brown.

3. Drain on paper towels, snip off any tails of batter with scissors, then roll the hot beignets in a little of the malt vinegar powder. Arrange the beignets on serving plates, grate cheese over the beignets, garnish with Kale Chips, and serve immediately.

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