Kale with Fried Lemon and GarlicPhoto Credit : Heath Robbins
We featured Mary Codola’s Italian American cooking in our “Great New England Cooks” column back in December 1984, long before kale became the go-to power food. Mary served hers with lemon wedges on the side, but we love the beauty and mellow tartness of fried lemon slices. The oil in which you cook the lemon and garlic becomes the dressing for the kale.
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Olive oil (for frying)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 lemon, very thinly sliced
3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds fresh kale, stem ends removed, chopped
Fill a 5- to 7-quart pot with water to a depth of 3/4 inch. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. Set a steamer basket into the pot and bring to a simmer over medium- high heat. Meanwhile, pour the oil into a medium-size skillet to a depth of 1/2 inch and set it over medium-low heat; bring it to a temperature of 300° to 350°.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour and the remaining 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt. Toss the lemon slices with the flour mixture to coat. Add the lemon slices to the skillet in two batches and cook until golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Add the garlic to the pan and cook until golden brown, about 1 min- ute. Remove and drain on paper towels. Reserve the oil.
Put the kale in the steaming basket with the simmering water and cook until just tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain and transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the cooking oil over the kale and toss with the lemon slices and garlic. Serve warm or at room temperature.