Baked Parmesan Kale Puffs
By: 
Dish Type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Vegetarian (see notes)
Ingredient prep: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 20 puffs (4 to 6 app servings)
 
The merit of "puff" as culinary terminology is debatable. The tender texture, fun factor, and comforting flavors of these healthy bites is not.
Ingredients
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 C finely chopped yellow onion (1/2 medium onion)
  • 2 C finely chopped green Swiss chard or spinach leaves (not packed; about ½ bunch chard)
  • 4 C finely chopped green or black kale leaves (unpacked; about ½ bunch green kale)
  • 4 scallions, white and light green parts, minced
  • ½ C Panko dry bread crumbs
  • ½ C + 2 T finely grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 T prepared green pesto
  • ½ t sea salt
  • ¾ t ground white pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
Make It
  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium, then add onions and cook until just softened but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add greens and ¼ teaspoon salt and continue to cook and stir until completely wilted, another 10 minutes, keeping heat low enough so onions do not brown. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Stir in scallions, panko, ½ cup parmesan, nutmeg, and pesto. Taste mixture (before adding eggs) and season, starting with ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and adjusting to taste (I used ¾ teaspoon pepper and the flavor was very distinct). Stir in eggs, breaking up yolks and combining completely into a uniform mixture.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees (F) (if baking immediately) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the mixture into balls of 1½ tablespoons each and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of each ball with a pinch of grated parmesan.
To freeze
  1. Place tray in freezer until balls are frozen through, about 2 hours. Remove from sheet and store in freezer bag or another airtight, freezer safe container. To bake, follow directions below. Thawing not necessary—just add 5 minutes to the cook time below (25 minutes total).
To bake
  1. Bake about 20 minutes in upper third of oven, until completely cooked through (no liquid egg inside) and browned on the bottom. The puffs will spring back when squeezed lightly once cooked through.
Notes
I think these would be a really fun brunch appetizer!

In testing, I used Swiss chard and green kale (the fluffy, curly one). If substituting other varieties of greens, use something mild and tender in place of the chard or spinach, and something sturdy, and possibly slightly bitter, in place of the kale.

Refrigerating the mixture (for 15 to 30 minutes) before forming balls helps it to firm up, making it even easier to handle. I tried it without major issues both ways.

If making for a strict vegetarian, make sure the pesto and parmesan do not contain animal rennet. Varieties that work will likely be labeled "vegetarian".
Recipe by Natural Comfort Kitchen at http://www.naturalcomfortkitchen.com/baked-parmesan-kale-puffs/