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I have to come clean: I have a borderline obsession with kale. If you haven't noticed by now, I try to incorporate it into every recipe I make, even when its addition is somewhat questionable (it always comes through for me in the end).
I'm sure you've all heard the endless chatter about how good kale is for you and that it's the new trendy 'it' food, which is all probably true; it's just not the reason I love it. It's an incredibly versatile and hardy green that can be manipulated in countless ways. Plus, it's not an ingredient that has to be handled lightly. Unlike meat that becomes tough when over-cooked or fresh herbs that wilt and brown quickly, kale actually benefits from some tough love. Often, kale is crumpled into fists or massaged with oil and salt to help soften and tenderize it, which means the prep work can be easily relegated to kids or someone who's inexperienced in the kitchen. Either way, it's just plain fun to get down and dirty with it.
My current obsession, as dinner guests can attest to, is a kale salad that involves massaging ripe avocado into the leaves to tenderize them, flavored with cumin and chile flakes and topping it with toasted pepitas and whatever other ingredients I have on hand—say crumbled feta, cilantro, or blood orange segments.
This recipe is a one-pot ode to that salad, which I cook and top with eggs. But first, I develop some additional flavor by browning butternut squash—a hearty addition that transforms this into a full dinner—cooking down onions and jalapeños with salt, cumin, and dried red pepper flakes, then introducing the star ingredient at the end to wilt gently before sprinkling it with pumpkin seeds, cracking in some eggs, and letting them set under the broiler. Shave on some Pecorino Romano and serve it with some fresh sliced avocado for a hearty and easy dinner is less than 20 minutes!
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