When I was growing up I think I may have been vaguely aware that blue (bleu?) cheese was not just a Kraft salad dressing variety that my parents loved. When I started doing my own grocery shopping this knowledge was solidified….but it was still several years before blue cheese became a food I would voluntarily eat. I still recall the first time I ever used it in a recipe….gorgonzola cheese grits. The recipe, which served four, called for eight ounces of gorgonzola. A few problems with that: (1) Gorgonzola is strooooooong; (2) eight ounces of ANY blue cheese is a lot for a dish that is meant to serve four. I mean, that’s two ounces of blue cheese per serving; and (3) I didn’t know better than to use the cheap gorgonzola that comes in a plastic tub from the dairy case at Bi-Lo.
Needless to say, gorgonzola cheese grits were not a hit. That was probably nine years ago, and we still refer to them as “the death grits”. Because that’s what they tasted like. Philip, being the trooper that he is, ate his entire bowl. I, on the other hand, probably burst into tears (I don’t remember, but that was back in my food tantrum days) and definitely loudly announced, “I canNOT eat this.” Instead I quickly made a batch of plain grits and stirred in a Kraft cheese single (nine years ago, don’t forget). I was a little gun shy on the blue cheese for a while, but now I quite enjoy it (in small amounts!).
Another thing….I grew up thinking kale was a garnish on your plate in a restaurant. I had no idea people actually ate it (and I suspect that there are lots of people who still think that way). When I found out otherwise, I was very interested….I love most leafy greens, and kale, with its dark green lushness, is super good for you. This time, it was Philip who was the naysayer. You see, when he worked in the kitchen at Chuck E. Cheese’s, they did in fact use kale as a garnish for sandwiches. The problem with kale is that if you wait one second too long to use it, it gets pretty nasty. Couple that with the fact that they would tear the kale up into garnish-sized pieces and store it in a plastic food service tub in the walk-in fridge….it was pretty disgusting when it went bad. I bought some at Main Street Farmers Market this past spring, though, and made kale chips. Perfect starter recipe. The door was wide open.
Obviously, the blue cheese is the star in this recipe. Kale definitely takes on a supporting role, providing body and upping the health factor. A creamy béchamel and some gouda for “cheesiness” completes the recipe. The first time I made it I burned my mouth badly-as in blister on the roof of my mouth badly-but this recipe is so delicious it was worth it (I did actually broil that batch to brown the top, a step I deemed unnecessary this time around, so this batch was not quite so mouth-searing….).
Yield: about 2 cups
10 minPrep Time:
15 minCook Time:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 Medium onion (diced)
- 2-3 cups kale (coarsely chopped, washed, & dried)
- 3 tablespoons flour (I used white whole wheat)
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup gouda cheese (shredded)
- 1-2oz buttermilk blue cheese (or other blue cheese of your choice) (crumbled)
- salt (to taste)
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender. Add the kale and again, sauté until tender (8-10 minutes....kale is much more hearty than spinach).
- Sprinkle the flour over the kale and onion mixture. Stir to combine then cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly stir in the milk and cook until thickened.
- Add the cheeses and stir until melted. Salt to taste (I like to taste it on a chip to account for the salt on the chip).
- Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips, or vegetables.
If you don’t enjoy blue cheese, you can use crumbled feta cheese or queso fresco in place of the blue cheese.
Click here to print the recipe for kale & blue cheese dip!