I’m making these kale and potato egg muffins very often these days, yet until two years ago I hadn’t even heard of kale. It’s not a vegetable grown in my home country. But I wasn’t the only one.
From an obscure leafy vegetable most people didn’t know or didn’t want to eat, kale turned into a cool one all of a sudden a couple of years ago. The sales of kale soared really high and supply couldn’t meet demand at first. Lots of people bought bags of kale not knowing what to do with it and there emerged myriads of recipes for kale.
What made kale so cool? First of all, its health benefits. Food scientists told us kale was a superfood, like berries, like beets (another vegetable we didn’t want to eat). So we started getting super cool kale smoothies everywhere. I’m not much of a smoothie person myself. I’d rather eat my greens and vegetables in salads or cooked into food.
It’s my type of vegetable: green, flavourful, with lots of character! So when like everybody else I picked up my bag of kale in the supermarket I started searching for recipes. It did work nicely wilted and lightly sautéed in butter alongside chicken or fish but surely there were other ways to use it.
I set out trying it in my fusion recipes, the recipes I create by using new ingredients or cooking methods to reproduce the flavours of my childhood or by using Persian ingredients totally out of context, in absolutely non-Persian dishes for new, exciting variations, like putting saffron in my Saffron and Walnut Courgette Cake with Oat Bran.
These easy kale and potato egg muffins were the result of one of these adventures. There’s load of kale in them and they are great to serve for breakfast/brunch or as a grab-and go lunch because they are just as good cold as they are warm right out of the oven.
I took the flavour inspiration for these little mounds of healthy deliciousness from a Persian dish called kookoo sabzi. Kookoo sabzi is basically a ton of herbs mixed with eggs, spices and sometimes chopped walnuts and/or jewel-like red barberries. The very green frittata-like Persian kookoo sabzi is cooked in a frying pan on top of the stove or in the oven.
Persians eat kookoo sabzi both hot and cold. We eat it with plain fluffy rice, we eat it with green herby rice (sabzi polo), we eat it rolled into flatbread like a tortilla wrap or even in a baguette! Kookoo sabzi is also eaten alongside green rice and pan-fried fish on Persian New Year’s Eve (Nowrouz) on 21 March. Like green rice the green colour of kookoo sabzi symbolises the rebirth of nature. It’s a simple but quite iconic dish in Persian cuisine.
My kale and potato egg muffins are pretty much the same. You can have them hot or cold, on their own, with rice or tucked into pita bread with sliced tomatoes and gherkins or rolled into a tortilla. They are great as finger-food too.
What makes the flavour of these muffins quite unique is the addition of barberries and walnuts/pecans. Barberries are a superfood on their own right. The tiny jewel-like tart red berries are almost exclusively grown in Iran. There are a great many of wild and garden varieties of barberries in Europe and America but the berries from most of them have too many seeds and are not suitable for cooking.
You can find barberries in Middle Eastern groceries or online. Skip the barberries and add a handful of chopped walnuts to the mix instead if you can’t find them or use chopped unsweetened dried cranberries for a little burst of sharp flavour.
To make 24 small egg muffins you will need the following ingredients: