Meatless Monday -Pasta with Fried Lemons, Kale & Chili Flakes

Pasta with Fried Lemon13

Fried Lemon?  Yes, you read correctly.  Even the lowly potato is turned from wallflower into the life of the party when fried in oil, so just imagine what frying can do to a crowd pleaser like the lemon! I have a Meyer Lemon tree outside my kitchen door which is exploding with lemons.  Most lemon trees have two crops a year, a summer crop and a winter crop which, surprisingly is the larger of the two. The winter crop is right now so lemons should be plentiful and inexpensive.   My freak of nature tree, however, has lemons all year around and right now it is so heavily laden with fruit that branches are bending under the weight.  Just take a look at this bounty! I can’t even get the whole tree in the photo.  It might be time to make some more Limoncello

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It has become a job (a fun one) to figure out how to use all my lemons, and not just sending every visitor home with bags full. So when I see a new way to use lemons, I get excited, especially when the lemon is treated as an actual fruit and not just a flavoring.  In fact, lemons are so good for us, we would all do well to include more of them in our diets.  A Care2 Article lists 16 health benefits of eating lemons and how they are good for our bodies, beyond the big dose of Vitamin C they provide.  Even though lemons are acidic in taste, they are one of the most alkaline-forming foods in our bodies which helps restore our pH balance.  Lemons also stimulate  our livers and cleanses our bowels, to name only a few benefits of the wonderful lemon.  I have seen a couple of recipes lately for fried lemon and after researching the various techniques, I decided to try the method in which thinly sliced lemon wheels are dredged in flour and fried in oil until golden brown and crispy.  I was not disappointed.  Fried lemons are delicious, a perfect combination of crispy,  salty, chewy and tart.  They make a great garnish and will elevate even a simple dish into something more elegant.  I decided to revamp a favorite but simple recipe that I have done in the past, Garlicky Kale Pasta with Lemon and Parmesan, using the same ingredients but a different technique.  This time I fried the lemons into crispy little wheels and sauteed julienned Dino Kale in butter, olive oil, garlic and chili flakes.  Tossed together with spaghetti, delicious!

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TIPS:  If you are not a devout believer in kale, spinach would make a great substitute, just reduce the cooking time or the spinach will get too soft.  Meyer lemons are sweeter and less acidic than the typical grocery store lemon, usually the Eureka lemon.  It also has a thinner skin and the pith is not so pronounced or bitter, making it perfectly suitable for eating whole, however, Eureka lemons can be used as well.  Some recipes suggested blanching the slices first in boiling water and adding a pinch of sugar to the flour before frying to reduce the bitterness, so that is worth a try if you are not using Meyer lemons.  Otherwise, add whatever fresh herbs you have available.  You can’t go wrong.

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PASTA WITH FRIED LEMONS, KALE AND CHILI FLAKES

3-4 lemons (preferably Meyer Lemon)
1/2 pound spaghetti (or other pasta shape)
2 Tbsn extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
2 Tbsn unsalted butter (or use more oil)
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsn fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
¾ tsp chile flakes, more to taste
1 bunch dino kale or spinach
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

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  • Prepare fried lemon (1 or 2 lemons)  according to directions below and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions, drain, reserving a half cup of cooking liquid.

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  • While the pasta is cooking, finely zest 2 of the lemons and set aside.

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  • Cut the center rib from the kale (if using) and slice the kale into 1/2 inch strips about 4 inches long.

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  • Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, chile flakes, thyme and lemon zest (reserving some for garnish) and cook until fragrant.

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  • Add kale and saute about five minutes, or until softened.

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  • Toss in pasta and reserved pasta water.  If you like it extra lemony, add a squeeze of lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with the carmelized lemons and parmesan cheese, if using and garnish with additional lemon zest.

Pasta with Fried Lemon9

FRIED LEMONS

1-2 lemons (preferably Meyer Lemon)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup oil (olive, coconut or avocado)

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  • Mix flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or pie pan and set aside.
  • Slice unpeeled lemon into paper-thin slices and remove any seeds.
  • Heat olive oil in a brimmed skillet on the stove on medium-high until hot.

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  • Dredge each lemon slice in the flour mixture, shake off any excess and place in the oil.

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  • Cook for approximately 1 minute on each side until browned.  Remove from heat and let cool on a paper towel. They will crisp as they cool.

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  •  Serve as a garnish or stir them into pasta or salad

Pasta with Fried Lemon, Kale and Chili Flakes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 Pasta with Fried Lemon13

3-4 lemons (preferably Meyer Lemon)
1/2 pound spaghetti (or other pasta shape)
2 Tbsn extra-virgin olive oil, more for drizzling
2 Tbsn unsalted butter (or use more oil)
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsn fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
¾ tsp chile flakes, more to taste
1 bunch dino kale or spinach
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

  • Prepare fried lemon (1 or 2 lemons)  according to directions below and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions, drain, reserving a half cup of cooking liquid.
  • While the pasta is cooking, finely zest 2 of the lemons and set aside.
  • Cut the center rib from the kale (if using) and slice the kale into 1/2 inch strips about 4 inches long.
  • Heat the butter and oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, chile flakes, thyme and lemon zest (reserving some for garnish) and cook until fragrant.
  • Add kale and sautee about five minutes, or until softened.
  • Toss in pasta and reserved pasta water.  If you like it extra lemony, add a squeeze of lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the carmelized lemons and parmesan cheese, if using.
  • Garnish with additional lemon zest.

FRIED LEMONS

1-2 lemons (preferably Meyer Lemon)
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 cup oil (olive, coconut or avocado)

  • Mix flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or pie pan and set aside.
  • Slice unpeeled lemon into paper-thin slices.
  • Heat olive oil in a brimmed skillet on the stove on medium-high until hot.
  • Dredge each lemon slice in the flour mixture, shake off any excess and place in the oil.
  • Cook for approximately 1 minute on each side until browned.  Remove from heat and let cool on a paper towel. They will crisp as they cool.
  • Serve as a garnish or stir them into pasta or salad

3 thoughts on “Meatless Monday -Pasta with Fried Lemons, Kale & Chili Flakes

  1. Pingback: Eat Seasonably in January & February: How to Cook with Kale - The Hip Horticulturist

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