How to Use Kale Without Making a Salad | Hamachi Tartare with Yuzu and Blood Orange Olive Oil on Fried Garden Kale

“Bring a dish with kale in it.”

I was going to a potluck, so braised kale or sautéed kale was not going to work. Hoping for some inspiration, I turned to the internet. First, the food porn sites. Then, a good old-fashioned Google search. When those failed, I sifted through my archived food magazines, the winter stack.

Out of the hundred or so kale salad or kale chip recipes reviewed, nothing jumped out at me. Nothing.

So I was on my own.

I learned recently that all kale is edible, even the ones marketed as ornamental. That means the stuff I have in my garden pots, I can eat.

That doesn’t, however, mean that all kale is created equal.

There’s a reason why some of them are ornamental. The ones that grow in my pots are beautifully colored; green, pink, lavender, white. The ends of the leaves are ruffled like ballerina tutus. But just by feeling them, I can tell they have the thickness of cabbage. And once put in my mouth, they kind of feel like rubber bands.

I was determined to bring something delicious. And not a salad, not a casserole… Something different. While lying in bed on Thursday night (true story), I envisioned a bite. An amuse buche. With contrasting textures. The role of “something crunchy” would be played by… fried garlic? Fried shallots? (Both had made appearances in a mid-week dinner.) No, it would be kale. From the garden pots. Fried. Because that would get rid of the rubbery texture, yes? And the role of “something creamy” would be played by… Minced beef? Too much work. Tuna? Eh. Salmon??? Maybe. Then it dawned on me…


Hamachi. Finely diced. Tossed in acid and oil. Gently placed on a piece of fried kale. And served on a tasting spoon.

I think it was a success.


Yes, I realize there’s an “orange thing” on top of the hamachi that’s not listed in the ingredient list below. I had some leftover tangerines sitting on the kitchen counter, and while assembling these little guys, thought it would be fun to add a few slices to some of them. The jury’s still on whether or not the tangerines add to the bite, or take away from the hamachi.

Special Equipment/Supplies Needed:

- small/portable deep fryer (or a small saucepan)

- bacon screen

- stainless steel tongs

- candy thermometer

- 24 tasting spoons


1. Kale contains a lot of moisture and splatters when it hits the hot oil. Immediately after placing the kale in the fryer, cover the top with a bacon screen to minimize the splatter all over  your kitchen.

2. A block of hamachi will usually have a dark red sliver on one side (see photo above). This blood line is technically edible, but for purposes of presenting a beautiful bite, should be carefully removed before proceeding to chop the fish.

3. Kale curves into a natural bowl shape once fried. When you pull them out of the fryer, turn the kale bowl “upside down” so that the excess oil can easily drain off.

4. I learned that the “white kale” should be fried at a lower temperature, no higher than 320°F. Any higher, and the fringes will brown and get a little ugly. The rest of the leaves will tolerate 340°F to 350°F nicely.

Hamachi Tartare with Yuzu and Blood Orange on Fried Garden Kale

A single bite of hamachi tartare, tossed in yuzu, rice wine vinegar and blood orange olive oil, then placed on top of fried garden kale.


~ Serves 24 ~


~ Ingredients ~

  • 4 ounces fresh sushi grade hamachi
  • 24 small kale leaves or leaf ends, rinsed and spun dry, and trimmed to fit on top of a tasting spoon
  • Neutral oil, for frying (grapeseed, safflower, peanut, canola, vegetable, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yuzu juice
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange olive oil

~ Preparation ~

Time commitment: 30 minutes

  1. Minute 1: Prepare hamachi; remove blood line and chop finely.
  2. Minute 5: Insert candy thermometer and oil to fryer and preheat to 350º F (or 320º F if frying white kale). Do not fill the fryer or pan more than 1/3 of the way full.
  3. Minutes 10-15: Using stainless steel tongs, gently place 4-5 kale leaves into fryer. Immediately cover with bacon screen and let fry for approximately 15-20 seconds. Remove from fryer and drain off oil on paper towels.
  4. Minute 20: Make vinaigrette; in a small glass bowl, combine yuzu juice and rice wine vinegar. Briskly whisk in a thin stream of olive oil. Salt to taste. Add in chopped hamachi and stir with spoon to toss.
  5. Minute 25: With paper towel, pat off excess olive oil and arrange one kale leaf “bowl side up” onto each tasting spoon. Using spoon, lift approximately one teaspoon of hamachi out of bowl and onto each kale leaf. Serve immediately.

Source: Rustic Garden Bistro


  1. says

    OMG, Kim, these photographs are beautiful and what a creative recipe. So sorry to have missed the potluck and these tasty bites. With kale being the darling of the lunch, I’m sure there were some interesting dishes served.

  2. says

    Just beautiful, Kim. It has been such a pleasure to catch up on your blog this morning. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve never seen kale look this beautiful.


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