Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Purple kale and kumquat bruschetta w/ tahini and date molasses dressing and Greek Kefalotyri

Winter favorites: kale, citrus, bread baking.
Winter obsessions: purple curly kale, kumquats, homemade sourdough bread.

I have a starter that I maintain and have kept alive for four years now. Four freaking years! I’m so proud of him (the starter is a he) and myself for managing to not kill him.
I’m even more proud with the sourdough loaf I made the other day.
No photos taken of the loaf because it was dark when I finished baking it and all that was left the next day were a few slices that I used to make bruschette.

I toasted the bread slices and rubbed them with garlic. I made a tahini dressing with citrus juices and date molasses, and mixed it with purple kale leaves (they are so incredibly pretty to photograph). I sliced some kumquats and piled everything on top of the bread. I scattered a few toasted, chopped walnuts on top and added some shaved Greek Kefalotyri cheese.
They were devoured in no time.

P.S. Kumquats are among my favorite fruits. For those of you who have never tasted them, you’re missing out. You need to taste these little beauties. Their skin is sweet and deeply aromatic, their flesh is sour and tart —the exact opposite of all the other citrus fruits— and they’re perfect eaten raw in fruit salads or vegetable salads.

Purple kale and kumquat bruschetta with a tahini and date molasses dressing and Greek Kefalotyri

Kefalotyri is a hard, yellow Greek cheese made from raw, goat and/or sheep’s milk that has a slightly salty, mildly acidulous flavor and a sharp aroma. It’s a very traditional Greek cheese for pasta dishes (like this braised rabbit with hilopites) and is used in all sorts of Greek dishes like cheese saganaki, melitzanes papoutsakia (stuffed eggplants with minced beef-tomato sauce), mousakas, etc. If you can’t find it, substitute with Pecorino Romano.

These bruschette can easily be turned into a big salad. Mix all the ingredients together and instead of toasting the bread, make croutons (see recipe here) and add them to the salad.

Yield: 12-14 bruschette

12-14 thick-ish slices of sourdough bread or other country bread
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
150 g purple (or green) curly kale leaves, veins and stems removed (before trimming they were about 230 g)
5-6 kumquats, very thinly sliced
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
70-80 g Greek Kefalotyri cheese, shaved
A big handful of walnut halves

for the tahini dressing
75 g tahini (stirred well before measuring it out of the jar)
1½ Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp date molasses (or petimezi – Greek grape molasses)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground white pepper, 3-4 turns of the pepper mill
3 Tbsp water

In a small skillet or sauté pan add the walnuts and place over a medium heat. Toast the nuts, stirring often so they don’t get burned, until they become fragrant and brown lightly. Transfer them to a small bowl and allow to cool. Then chop them roughly.

Rinse the kale leaves under cold running water and dry them very well with a clean kitchen towel or with absorbent kitchen paper.
Remove the central, thick vein of each kale leaf as well as the stems, and discard them. Cut with your hands the leaves into small, bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl, add the kale, olive oil and lemon juice and massage gently with your fingers to tenderize the leaves.

Make the dressing by adding all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisking well to combine and create a smooth mixture. Give it a taste and correct the seasoning. The dressing can be made 1 day ahead and kept covered well with plastic wrap in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before using it, because it firms up in the fridge. Whisk it before use.

Toast the bread and rub one side of each slice all over with garlic.

To the kale, add the sliced kumquats and ⅔ of the dressing, and toss well.

Arrange the bread slices on a tray, top each slice with the dressed kale and kumquats, sprinkle with the chopped walnuts and top with a the shaved Kefalotyri. Drizzle the rest of the dressing on top of each brsuchetta.
Serve immediately.


  1. Looks tasty! Thank you for sharing :)
    Could we have your sour dough starter recipe please? I have tried in the past, but with no success...

    1. Hello Jackie. I'm glad you like it. I'm planning to share my recipe when I start another starter so I can take photos.