Braised Kale with Lemon and Anchovies

I’m an anchovy FREAK. I really noticed it when I was about 13 years old and went gaga for a certain restaurant’s Caesar salad. When I was 17 and saw Jamie Oliver throw anchovy fillets into some hot olive oil and watched them dissolve and flavor that oil, the freak got geek. When I ordered pizza with extra cheese and saw I could get anchovy fillets for a few cents more, I solidified the fact: anchovies. are. the. bomb. So when I put anchovies in butter, when I sneak them into persillade, when I feel happiness knowing there’s a tube of them in the fridge (perfection), and a tin of them in the cupboard (amaze), I revel in letting my freak flag fly. And then I remember–it’s really not that freaky at all. It’s incredibly wholesome, eating a tiny fish. It gives me all those tasty nutrients just like the big catches. I think that’s what keeps me coming back, what I realize–you crave what they can give you. There’s nothing fancy about this dish. There can’t be. It is what it is. Thank goodness.

Braised Kale with Lemon and Anchovies
1 head kale, any variety, stems removed and leaves roughly torn
2 tablespoons fat of choice (I used duck fat–butter, lard or coconut would be great, too)
1 tablespoon anchovy paste (or 4 anchovy fillets from a tin)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped and smashed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon

In a large skillet, heat your fat of choice over medium high. Add in the anchovies, stirring around the hot fat until the anchovies have melted and incorporated themselves. Add in the torn kale leaves, gently tossing as they wilt from the heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic, sea salt and black pepper. Turn the heat up to high and cook for another minute or two, until some of the kale leaves get crispy. Take the skillet off the heat, then add the lemon juice and zest. Toss to evenly coat. Serves 4. It might not hurt to sprinkle some toasted and finely chopped nuts over this, but I’m not in charge here.


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