Today: Caramelized onions take time, but boy, are they worth it. Let them pull double duty in this simple, savory walnut frittata and a luxe kale salad.
This is the dinner to make when you need to spend some time with your kitchen—after a day of grumpy baristas, interminable meetings, a desk lunch, a traffic jam, hissy fits, and dealing with your best friend's latest existential crisis. By now, it's 7 (maybe even 8) o'clock, and all you need is to take an hour for yourself.
Put on some music, pour a glass of wine, and grab your cast-iron skillet and a couple of plump onions. It's time to settle into this Baked Onion-Walnut Frittata and every crouton on this Caesar-Style Kale Salad with Roasted Onions and Ricotta Salata.
(Organized by area of the market)
1 1/2 pounds sweet onions
1 small bunch Lacinato kale
2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary
6 large eggs
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
12 capers, roughly chopped
1 to 2 large anchovies, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 to 3 slices day-old, best-quality bread
2 slices thick-cut bacon
1/2 cup grated ricotta salata cheese
We are assuming you already have olive oil, Dijon mustard, and garlic. If you don't, be sure to add these things to your list.
Roughly an hour before dinnertime, preheat your oven to 350º F, then chop your onions and set them to caramelize in a cast-iron skillet, stirring occasionally. As they simmer and sputter their way to browned perfection, start preparing your salad dressing and croutons. The dressing is easy: Just pulse the ingredients (anchovies, white wine vinegar, and Dijon mustard among other things) in a blender until it is emulsified and smooth. Give the onions in the skillet a stir, then cube the day-old bread and toast it in a separate skillet with some olive oil, until golden. Pour yourself (another) glass of wine while the onions cook.
With half an hour left on the clock, remove the onions from your cast-iron skillet and place the skillet the oven for five minutes to heat through while you prepare the filling (using most, but not all of your browned onions). Once the skillet's warmed through, pour the filling in and pop the skillet back in the oven.
While it bakes, finish off your kale salad. Wash and drain the kale, then cut it into thin strips, drizzle on the dressing, and toss it until the leaves are coated. Fry up some chopped bacon, then pour it and the rendered bacon fat over the leaves. Top it with the rest of the browned onions, and mix everything thoroughly so that the kale gets just a little wilted from the heat, then top the whole thing with ricotta salata, and toss.
In the last few minutes, pull the frittata out of the oven and serve a wedge of it alongside a hearty helping of salad as you let the relief of finishing this hectic day wash over you.
Photos by James Ransom