Friday, March 04, 2011

The L Word: Double Down

The two-fer is such an American idea, isn't it? Buy one, get one free. Whether it's toilet paper or, in this case, a recipe.

I was stuck for something to make for dinner the other night. I wanted something light and wasn't in the mood for meat, a tough task with two voracious carnivores drooling all over my kitchen counters. And no, I'm not referring to the dogs here…they're too short to drool on anything but my toes.

There were some leftovers (the L word) in the fridge: a bit of really good tomato sauce, a few marinated castelvetrano olives from a dinner party, a bunch of kale, a few Meyer lemons I hadn't got around to using yet. Hm. Then it hit me…kale…lemons…olives!

A quick check of the pantry revealed pasta and (yes!) a tin of anchovies. Victory!

At this point you have to picture me dancing around the kitchen, pumping my fists in the air, hearing the theme from Rocky bouncing off the kitchen cabinets. Now the more psychologically stable among you may be thinking that I need something more meaningful to do with my life when coming up with a plan for a weeknight dinner is considered a quest on a par with King Arthur's grail, Hannibal's elephant parade over the Alps or even Indiana Jones's women…um…I mean mythical antiquities. But there you have it…I come up with an idea for dinner and I'm Rocky Balboa. But back to the subject at hand.

What had suddenly turned me into a down-trodden, working-class boxer from Philly was the raw kale salad I'd perfected last fall, based on a raw Brussels sprout salad I'd had at Olympic Provisions. Would it taste as amazing if I used Meyer lemons and combined it with pasta? It sounded reasonable enough to me, so just over twenty minutes later we sat down to what I have to say was one knockout of a dinner.

Meyer Lemon and Kale Pasta

1 lb. dried pasta
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 2-oz. tin anchovies in olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 small bunch kale (I love lacinato, though any will do), sliced into chiffonade
10 castelvetrano olives, pitted and roughly chopped
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
Juice of 2 Meyer lemons
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan, finely grated

Bring large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.

Heat oil over medium heat. Add anchovies and stir until they dissolve (stand back…they can splatter). Add garlic and heat but do not brown it. Add kale and sauté till wilted. Quickly stir in olives and remove from heat.

When pasta is done, drain off water and place in large serving bowl. Add kale mixture, lemon zest and juice (chopped preserved lemons would also be terrific). Toss, adding salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle it lightly with parmesan. Serve with more parmesan in a bowl for sprinkling.


pdxknitterati/MicheleLB said...

This sounds delicious; thank you. Will be on next week's grocery list.

Kathleen Bauer said...

Let me know what you think, and if you made any adjustments!

molly said...

I cannot believe I've never combined kale and lemons. I can taste it already; thanks for the notion!

Kathleen Bauer said...

And if you want to work in a few chopped preserved lemons in place of the zest, even better! Like I said to Michele, let me know if you make any improvements!

Lisa Belt said...

Ah! Perfect. Making this for dinner tonight with preserved lemons (that I always forget about in the back of the fridge...)

Kathleen Bauer said...

Yes, mine do that, too, sometimes. They find the most remote nooks and crannies, don't they?