There’s a story behind my fried lemon fennel linguine this week. I guess in fairness, there’s always a story behind the scenes, behind the food. This week’s recipe was heavily inspired by Melissa Clark’s Dinner: Changing the Game. I’ve had an evolving relationship with cookbooks. There was a time in my life when I had so many cookbooks they occupied most of one floor to ceiling bookshelf. I aspired to have a collection so large I’d have to bequest it to a library or something someday. (There was such a collection at the university I attended – I seriously romanticized the notion of having that many cookbooks). In recent years, with multiple moves under my belt, several of which were multi-state, I’ve had to gradually scale back my cookbook ambitions. Plus, Pinterest has been a game changer, as are all the great food blogs that are out there. In the last couple of years, I’ve generally not bought cookbooks, relying instead on my own cooking wits and getting my inspiration from online sources.
Then I discovered the Food 52 Cookbook Club on Facebook. A group of foodies cook out of the same cookbook for the month and post luscious food photos of what they’ve made. I’m two months in and having a blast. Last month, we cooked from My Paris Kitchen (David Lebovitz). I actually bought the book – it’s too beautiful not to have on the shelf. This month is Dinner. To save shelf space (and to spare the need to pack too many books someday when we move again), I bought the e-version of Dinner. Both months’ books have been great inspiration for dealing with all the CSA veggies. Today’s recipe – fried lemon fennel linguine – is no exception.
Speaking of CSAs and farmer’s markets: here’s the haul from last week. The CSA brought me tomatoes, fennel, thyme, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, kale, and carrots. My sweetie bought me 20 pounds of tomatoes from the farmer’s market, along with some corn, Anaheim peppers, and blackberries. The tomatoes all went into diced canned tomatoes. The lettuce made it into a salad. The Anaheims went into eggs for several meals. The zucchini and some of the corn made it into zucchini, corn, bacon pancakes (I’m pretty sure that one will make it onto the blog someday soon). The fennel went into today’s recipe. The cucumbers were both eaten and added to a salad, as well as inspired a salad dressing that accompanied the kale that should make it to the blog mid-week. The carrots are still hanging out in the fridge, as is the thyme.
- 1 lemon, quartered, de-seeded and sliced into thin slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bulb fennel, fronds removed and sliced into ¼ inch slices
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
- Approximately ½ cup ricotta cheese (preferably homemade – recipe here)
- Pinch salt
- Pinch sugar
- Freshly ground pepper
- ½ package linguine
- If you are making homemade ricotta (which I really do recommend – it’s so easy and yummy!) make the ricotta first.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the lemon slices and blanch for 2 minutes. Taste after 2 minutes – if they are still bitter, blanch again for another 2 minutes. Remove the lemons from the water, pat dry, and set aside.
- Cook the linguine according to the package directions. While the linguine is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Once the olive oil is hot, add the lemon and fennel slices, along with a pinch sugar and a pinch salt. Let the lemons and fennel fry, turning occasionally. When they are both brown and caramelized, remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to drain.
- Drain the linguine, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water. Combine the linguine, parsley, lemon and fennel in the saucepan. Divide among four bowls and top with ricotta. Salt to taste and sprinkle with a bit of fresh ground black pepper.
- Serves 4. Enjoy!
This post is linked up to Tinned Tomatoes’ Meat Free Mondays