The key when making this recipe is having all of the shallots, garlic, and ginger ready to go before you start frying the mustard seeds and cumin. The spices can burn if you're occupied at the cutting board.Read More
Jerusalem is one of those rare books that inspires both so-called foodie people and more casual cooks. Several months ago, I overheard two women at Book Passage in the San Francisco Ferry Building talking about how much they liked the book. Part of it is all the vibrant photography--it really makes you want to eat more vegetables.Read More
Punch, a drinks magazine, called the negroni “the kale of cocktails,” which means kale jumped the shark a long time ago. Other than its health halo, kale is great for how easy it is to prepare.
Five or so years ago, I wasn't so hip to this fact. I followed cookbooks like Sunday Suppers at Lucques, which, if memory serves me, has a recipe in which you deglaze the kale 3 times in stock to make sure it's really tender by the time you eat it. This is great, but not always necessary. Sometimes it tastes better when cooked quickly, IMO.
Hence this kale salad/side dish/light dinner option: After washing the leaves, I tear the stems out using my hands and discard them or dice them and cook them with garlic and shallots until soft. I tear the leaves into pieces. While they still have some of the water clinging to their ridges, I put the leaves in a pot with olive oil and garlic and close the lid.
Another thing that I have on hand for quick dinners is canned chickpeas. I roast them with olive oil in the oven to give them a crisp exterior, often followed with a pinch of cumin seeds or garam masala and a shake of chile flakes for spice. They’re great stirred into pasta this way, or added to salad. For the best texture, I put drained chickpeas in the oven–without any oil or spices–and then turn the oven on to preheat. This way, the surface of the chickpeas dries out a bit, allowing them to better absorb seasonings.
To serve more than two people, double or triple the quantity of kale; it cooks down significantly. If using a whole can of chickpeas, make sure the beans fit in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and add enough olive oil to ensure they don't stick.
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (approximately)
- 2 pinches dried chile flakes
- ¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
- Pinch of garam masala (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, split lengthwise
- 1 lemon, for juice and zest
Tear the stems out of the kale leaves and discard. (Or saute separately with a sliced shallot.) Tear the leaves into 2-inch or so pieces.
Put the chickpeas on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400F. After 4 or 5 minutes (depending how fast your oven preheats), the chickpeas will have dried out some.
Drizzle the chickpeas with 2 tablespoons oil and season with a pinch of chile flakes, a pinch of salt, cumin seeds, and garam masala and give them a good stir, dislodging them from the bottom of the pan if they have started to stick. Roast until the outside begins to crisp up, 10 to 15 minutes depending on how fast the oven heats.
Meanwhile, cook the kale. In a large pot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil (or more, if you like) over medium heat. Add the garlic and a pinch of chile flakes and let the garlic sweat in the oil for a moment. Add the kale and a pinch of salt, cover, lower the heat to low, and let the leaves steam and wilt, approximately 3 minutes.
Remove the lid and give the kale a stir. Let it cook, uncovered, until some of the leaves crisp up. If you'd like, you can fish out the garlic, mince it, and add it back into the pot.
To finish: stir the chickpeas into the kale. Grate some lemon zest over the surface. Slice a wedge out of the lemon and squeeze it over the top. Give everything another good stir and taste for seasoning, adding salt, lemon, or spice as desired.
The gap between what most of us think of when we think "fall produce" and what's actually in season is pretty wide -- especially so in San Francisco, where local strawberries are STILL going strong. I made strawberry-apple jam a couple of days ago with a case of local strawberries. Granted, these were not the best strawberries I've had all year. But the notion that we have them at all?
In other words, fall produce doesn't always = pumpkins. And that's why I'm posting this recipe for peperonata: September, when the market floods with sweet bell and gypsy peppers, is probably the best time of the year to make it.
I came across this recipe while working on a recipe development project, which is always a good excuse to dip back into various cookbooks for new ideas. I also often turn back to familiar ground, like my old, trusty A16 book. I was researching meatballs for the project, and I knew we had developed a chicken meatball recipe for the book. I did find those meatballs, but I also got sidetracked with the peperonata we paired with it. While the peperonata was buried as a subrecipe, it really should have stood out alone as a separate recipe, since it also makes a versatile condiment, sandwich topping, or sauce for pasta.
It's been a long time since I've made it, but this recent batch made me remember why I liked it so much. I did lighten things up a bit (the original had a lot more olive oil -- delicious, but probably unnecessary.) The only thing that's time consuming is roasting the peppers. I used the oven (city living means no backyard grill) but if you do have a grill, it would take far less time to char & peel the peppers.
So here you go -- peperonata for early fall.
Adapted from A16 Food + Wine
Makes 4 to 5 cups
- 2 lb red and yellow bell peppers (about 5)
- 3 TB extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for roasting the peppers
- 2 TB capers, soaked and drained
- 1 cup yellow onion, sliced
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp dried chile flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 TB red wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Put the peppers on the prepared sheet and coat with 1 TB olive oil. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the peppers and roast them until the peppers are charred and soft, 15-20 more minutes.
Return the peppers to the bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit for approximately 10 minutes. Remove the skins, core, and seeds, and slice the peppers into strips.
In a saute pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 TB olive oil. Fry the capers briefly, then stir in the onion, fennel, chile flakes, and salt. Cook until the onions is soft, about 5 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with vinegar and concentrate and stir in the peppers. Cook for a few minutes, then taste for the seasoning, adjusting with more salt or vinegar as needed. The peppers can be served warm or at room temperature or stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.