Recently my sister, my husband and I ventured over to the Greenlight Bookstore to hear food writer Melissa Clark talk about her new book Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make. I've long been a fan of her column in the New York Times, and it was great to get to see and meet her in person. My sister and I both left with a copy of the book and I've already tried a few recipes. From the few I have tried so far, I feel confident in saying that this one's a keeper.
I like the book so well because these are simple, everyday recipes, but Clark suggests flavor combinations and methods I never would have thought of myself. For example, on Friday we made her Raw Kale Salad With Anchovy-Date Dressing and the Butternut Squash Risotto With Pistachios and Lemon. An unusual combination, the anchovy-date-citrus-peel dressing was a great dressing for hearty kale (and thanks to the kale's tough leaves it was even good the next day, which salad almost never is). Clark suggests grating the butternut squash and cooking it right along with the rice, which results in the squash almost melting into the risotto -- anchovies and lemon added zing to the otherwise mellow flavor of squash.
Raw Kale Salad with Anchovy-Date Dressing (serves 6)
From Cook This Now
6 to 8 large medjool dates, pitted, smashed, and finely chopped
6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp red wine vinegar, more to taste
2 large or 3 small bunches Tuscan kale, ribs removed
Coarse sea salt, if needed
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the dates (use more dates if you like a sweeter salad and fewer if you prefer a less sweet salad), anchovies, garlic, orange zest, and lemon zest. Stir in the olive oil and vinegar.
2. Wash and dry the kale leaves; stack the leaves and slice them thinly cross-wise. Transfer the greens to a large salad bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Add salt and more vinegar if needed.