Posted by: CJW | February 10, 2010

Kale, White Beans, and Fried Capers

While visiting John’s sister in Peru, we went to a restaurant our first night in Lima and had this delicious appetizer of grilled octopus and capers. That triggered a brief conversation about fried capers which then triggered a craving in me to make fried capers as soon as possible. And when I get fixated on something culinary, you can guarantee it’ll happen… unless it’s extremely cost prohibitive or squicks me out but a craving is unlikely to happen in the case of the latter.

I carried out the fried caper craving shortly after getting home when I hosted my knitting group at my house. The capers were folded into a pasta dish made with cannellini beans, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and kale. I loved this combination! The capers were a touch crispy and gave a sharp, salty and acidic bite to contrast with the bitter greens and sweet, juicy tomatoes. A dash of red pepper flakes and garlic gave heat while the beans were firm yet creamy. A swap out of tomatoes for tender pieces of roasted chicken made up another bowl for the carnivorous members of our group, but I preferred this vegan version, perhaps because I used the oil from the caper frying pan in the sauce for this dish to boost up the flavors. In fact, just talking about fried capers is bringing on another craving… maybe I’ll have to fry some capers and add them to a salad tonight.

  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 3 oz capers
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 oz dried spaghetti
  • olive oil (1/4 cup for frying plus a tablespoon)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Cook pasta according to package directions, except cook it a minute shy of the time length for al dente pasta.

While pasta cooks, heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small, shallow frying pan over medium heat. Drain the capers and pour them out on a paper towel lined plate then pat them dry. When oil is hot, just about to smoke, quickly and carefully add them to the oil. They may spatter and spurt so be careful. Fry until they are brown around the edges and have opened up, about 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat and with a slotted spoon, remove the capers to a paper towel lined plate to drain.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat. Saute the shallot until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or until the tomatoes start to burst. Add the kale and cook for 2-3 minutes or until it’s slightly wilted. Stir in the red pepper flakes.

Return drained pasta to the pot in which you cooked it and set over medium heat. Add the vegetable mixture, the cannellini beans, and the olive oil reserved from frying the capers. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue mixing together until everything is heated through.

CSA Count: 3

Shallot, garlic, kale

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