It’s finally getting colder here, there’s a refreshing snap in the air in the mornings now. It’s actually starting to feel like autumn! But the sun is still hot in the afternoons, so my original idea for a hearty salad using baby kale felt like it needed a brighter note. I have a few oranges left over from summer cup cocktails a couple of weeks ago, so I made a herby, smoky, orangey marinade to roast the apples and kale in. It works really well, adding a sweetness and citrus hit to the rich kale and tart apples, without overpowering them. I’ve added some roasted almonds for protein and flavour, and overall it makes a very satisfying and interesting dish. And tasty too of course!
My baby button hole kale was from asda and is a whole little plant with stems and leaves (see the picture below), but you could use normal kale or any dark leaved cabbage, just adjust the cooking time if you’re using leaves only.
2 baby button hole kale, quartered
1 apple, sliced (the eating kind rather than a cooker, it’s better if it holds its shape)
1 400 g tin of green lentils, drained and rinsed (or cook your own, around 80 g of dried)
40 g salted roast almonds
for the marinade
1 orange, zest and juice
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp liquid smoke or smoked paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
First start the marinade. Put the orange juice, orange zest, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf in a bowl and mix together. Set aside for ten minutes or so, this allows the dried herbs to soften and start to release their flavour.
Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil and add the kale. Cook at a fast simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the kale and put it in a large roasting tin, along with the apple slices.
Add the liquid smoke, olive oil and some salt and pepper to the marinade, mix and then tip over the vegetables. Mix well to make sure everything is coated, and then arrange the apples around the edge of the tray, leaving the kale in the middle. Roast for 10 minutes, and then turn everything over. Pop back in the oven for a further 10 minutes. When it’s done the kale should be just starting to crisp at the edges and the apple should be soft, and golden from the orange juice.
Remove the kale and apple to a bowl, and mix the lentils and almonds through the remaining marinade in the roasting tin.
To serve, put a few lentils in the bottom of each dish and then pile the kale and apples on top, finishing with the rest of the lentils.