This Mediterranean take on fried rice comes together in minutes — especially if you’re using leftover rice — but leaves a lasting impression. Bright yet nutty, verdant yet earthy, fluffy yet crunchy, this dish satisfies cravings I didn’t even know I had. Perhaps this is why it didn’t make it to its intended position on my plate as a side dish to broiled salmon but got heaped into a bowl instead and gobbled down with a soup spoon as my dinner.
Meyer lemons have a thinner peel and sweeter, milder flavor than traditional Eureka lemons, so they work well in this dish, which uses an entire chopped lemon. If you can’t find Meyer lemon, use the zest and juice from a Eureka — although you may want to start with half the juice and adjust according to taste.
The recipe calls for Tuscan kale, which is also known as dinosaur or Lacinato kale.
Meyer Lemon and Kale Fried Rice with Caraway and Hazelnuts
Serves 6 to 8
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 large bunch Tuscan kale, about ¾ pound, sliced
6 cups cooked jasmine rice (made from 2 cups uncooked)
1 teaspoon salt
1 small Meyer lemon (or ½ large), finely chopped
1 cup roasted peeled hazelnuts, roughly chopped (see below note for how to roast and peel)
2/3 cup crispy fried shallots, purchased or homemade
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the caraway seeds and fry for 1 minute until fragrant but not burned. Add the garlic and sliced kale and stir-fry for 2 minutes until the kale just starts to turn bright green.
Add the jasmine rice, salt and chopped Meyer lemon, including released juices, to the skillet and stir-fry an additional 2 to 3 minutes until the kale is cooked and rice is heated through. Taste and add more salt or caraway according to your preference. Serve warm, topped with chopped roasted hazelnuts and crispy fried shallots.
Note: To roast the hazelnuts, heat oven to 325 degrees. Place hazelnuts on a sheet pan in a single layer and toast for about 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant but not burned. Wrap the warm hazelnuts in a clean dish towel and let them sit for 5 minutes to steam. Then vigorously rub the hazelnuts against the dish towel for a minute or two to flake off the skins.
Registered dietitian and food writer Laura McLively is the author of “The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook.” Follow her at @myberkeleybowl and www.lauramclively.com.