On the menu: Broiled Portobello Caps, Chickpea Fries, and Sauteed Collard Greens
At a very unhealthy Super Bowl potluck last weekend, some friends of ours were explaining their new quest in the kitchen: one meat a week. We were inspired, and after the last couple of meals we’ve had, we were ready to go meatless for a few days. Kevin’s pre-Christmas visit to Chicago not only brought him delicious pie and an abundance of pork; he also had chickpea fries. He found chickpea flour last week at the natural foods store in town and has been talking about chickpea fries ever since.
One night when I had no ideas on what to have for dinner, Kevin had it all planned out. Chickpea fries and portobello caps, he said. It sounded great to me, but I needed something green. A perusal of the produce section of our grocery store led us to buying collard greens. We didn’t really know what we were going to do with them, but we’d figure it out when we got home. I was a little nervous that we’d have to go all Paula Deen on them, but that was not the case. More on that later.
When we got home, Kevin checked out How to Cook Everything and found recipes for Chickpea Fries and Broiled Portobello Caps. Mark Bittman really knows how to cook everything! I checked Epicurious for a recipe for collard greens and found one that was done in 45 minutes, which timed out well with everything else we were making. Kevin started dinner by making the dough for the chickpea fries. The dough was mixed together and chilled on a cookie sheet in the fridge for 30 minutes. While the dough was chilling, I put a pot of water on the stove to boil and Kevin and I got to work prepping the greens. We had to trim them and cut them into one inch pieces. There were a lot of greens.
Eventually we finished trimming the greens and got them into the pot of boiling water, at which point Kevin got out the chickpea fries from fridge, heated up some oil in a skillet, and got to work frying them. I set to work prepping the mushrooms: dice a shallot, mix it with some olive oil, and brush the mushrooms with the shallots and oil.
The fries were the workhorse of the meal: we had 4-5 batches of fries that cooked for five minutes each. When the fries were about halfway done, I popped the mushrooms under the broiler and drained the greens. I sauteed the greens in butter and garlic and they were finished! The mushrooms were flipped and brushed with more oil, then put back under the broiler for about five minutes.
Kevin was still frying. But we were snacking, and those fries were delicious!
We kept the mushrooms and the greens warm until the fries were done, plated everything up, and opened a bottle of California Cab. Dinner was delicious. The mushrooms had some serious umami going; Kevin couldn’t get enough of it, and it was almost too much for me! They had a meaty texture and made an awesome meat substitute. The chickpea fries were light and crispy…they had been finished off with some chili pepper for some real flavor. The greens were great, too…a bit of lemon juice was added at the very end of the saute to brighten the taste, and the butter and garlic made great additions.
Typically, collard greens are cooked with ham hocks for flavor; we didn’t use those, so our meal was actually vegetarian! I exclaimed this in amazement halfway through dinner. Going meatless sometimes is healthy, economical, and brings out creativity in the kitchen, and we’ll definitely be doing this again in the future!
Broiled Portobello Caps
adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything
2 large portobello mushroom caps
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. minced shallot
Salt and pepper
Heat the broiler; place rack 4 inches from heat source. Mix olive oil, shallot, salt, and pepper. Brush mushrooms with about half of this mixture.
Broil mushrooms cap side down for 5-8 minutes, until they begin to brown. Brush with remaining oil and turn. Broil until tender and nicely browned all over, 5-10 minutes more. Garnish with remaining shallots and serve.
from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 c. chickpea flour, sifted
Salt and pepper
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
Grease a baking sheet and set aside. Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a medium pot. Gradually add chickpea flour, with a large pinch of salt and pepper, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce to a gentle bubble, stir in the olive oil, and cook for a minute.
Pour chickpea mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Let cool for a few minutes, then cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes until chilled through.
Put 1/4 inch of oil into a large skillet over medium heat. Cut the chickpea mixture into 3 inch by 1/2 inch fries. Place batches of fries into hot oil, rotating them to brown on all sides, about 3-4 minutes.
Drain fries on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili pepper for an added kick. Serve hot.
Sauteed Collard Greens
2 1/2 pounds collard greens
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Remove and discard stems and center ribs of collard greens. Cut leaves into 1-inch pieces. In a kettle of boiling water cook collards 15 minutes and drain in a colander, pressing out excess liquid with back of a wooden spoon.
Mince garlic. In a 12-inch heavy skillet heat butter and oil over moderately high heat until foam subsides and stir in garlic, collards, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté collard mixture, stirring, until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Drizzle collards with lemon juice and toss well.