Anchovy, Ramp & Arugula Egg on a Roll

I missed the farmers’ market last Saturday. Instead, the morning found me traipsing around the city with a weekend bag full of sweatpants and vegetables, a backpack full of library books, and a giant platter from Murray’s Cheese. The schlep was well worth it, as it meant having the opportunity to attend a workshop with the luminous Sarah Owens, who just won a James Beard Award for her new book, Sourdough.

Sarah Owens Sourdough

(As should be evident, I did not make this.)

After class, I headed up to Grand Central to hop the train to Cold Spring. Beth was out of town for a few days and had graciously offered up her lovely home as a writer’s retreat. I was bound and determined to finish up my final paper of the semester.

Things got off to a slow start, owing to exhaustion and, possibly, the basil gin and tonic I whipped up with herbs from Beth’s kitchen garden.

Basil Gin and Tonic

Mercifully, Sunday was cold and drizzly, leaving me with nothing to do but plug away at my paper…

A Room with a View

…with occasional breaks to feed myself…

…and Oscar, who apparently likes cheese as much as I do.

Oscar the Hamster

By Monday afternoon I had a serviceable first draft and was headed back to the city. I spent Tuesday fine tuning my paper and was back at work Wednesday morning with a worrisome twinge in my lower back. By Friday the pain was hard to ignore. I knocked off early and headed to the acupuncturist.

Sixteen needles and seven small and rather tortuous cups later, my back was starting to release. Steve slapped a couple of giant stickers that smell like a combination of tea tree oil and Bengay on and sent me on my way with instructions for gentle stretching and heat.


And so last night was an uncharacteristically low-key one. I met Sari for a lovely and light early dinner and spent the remainder of the night getting intimate with my heating pad.

This morning found me back at the farmers’ market loading my bag with more goodies than someone with a bad back should reasonably carry. I returned home to a breakfast of ibuprofen and an egg sandwich.

I have written about the wonder that is the New York City egg and cheese on a roll. More than once, in fact. While there is a beauty in the simplicity of this sandwich, today’s haul called for something a little more upscale. (The fact that I capped last night’s cocktail consumption at two undoubtedly helped in this regard.)

Anchovy, Ramp & Arugula Egg on a Roll

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • 1 small pinch red pepper flakes
  • 6 ramps
  • 1 ciabatta or other soft roll
  • 1 egg
  • handful of arugula
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • pepper

Bring a small cast iron (or nonstick) skillet up to medium-low heat with the butter. Add the anchovies and smash with the back of a spoon until they begin to dissolve into the butter. Add the red pepper flakes. Finely mince the bulbs of the ramps and add these. Sauté, stirring frequently, until soft. Roughly chop the ramp greens and add these plus some black pepper. After a minute or two, you should have a coarse paste. Take off the heat and fold in the lemon zest. Slather onto both sides of a halved and toasted roll. Fry an egg over easy in the lingering ramp butter and layer it onto your sandwich. Top with arugula and the other half of your roll.

Anchovy Ramp and Arugula Egg on a Roll

This sandwich is best enjoyed from the comfort of your heating pad.

Dandelion Pasta with Anchovies & Ricotta

With school back in session, Wednesdays are once again a haze. I had hoped to wrap up my budgeting work before leaving the office, but was waylaid by other tasks. I made it home from class around 7:30, my head full of feminist theory and my stomach running on empty. Fortunately, I had a nice bunch of dandelion greens and a well stocked pantry.

This meal paired nicely with the dregs of Saturday’s Cabernet Sauvignon, which had thankfully not turned to vinegar on the kitchen counter. More importantly, it came together in 22 minutes flat, leaving me with enough time to catch up with my sister Upstate and finish those pesky spreadsheets.

Dandelion Pasta with Anchovies & Ricotta

Set a pot of salted water to boil. Bring a couple of tablespoons of olive oil up to medium heat in a large sauté pan. Peel and thinly slice a few cloves of garlic. Rinse and coarsely chop the dandelion greens, removing the ends if they are twiggy. If you aren’t that into bitter things, wait until the water boils and blanch the greens for a couple of minutes. (But, really, why in the world are you eating dandelion greens if you’re not down?) Once the oil is hot enough that droplets of water sizzle, add a few anchovies from your emergency jar and four or five of those small dried chiles that you bought at the fancy cheese shop on a whim (or a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes, which are probably the same thing at a quarter of the price). Stir constantly for a couple of minutes, add the garlic and continue stirring for one more minute. Add the greens to your pan and half a bag of penne to your pot. Stir both occasionally. Grind some black pepper into the greens. When the pasta is just shy of done, scoop it into the pan, allowing some of the water to migrate along with it. Cook for another minute or so and remove from the heat. Give it a quick taste and add salt if needed. (The anchovies may have done the trick.) Top each serving with a heaping spoonful of ricotta, a little lemon zest and juice, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Dandelion Green Penne with Anchovies and Ricotta

The Kale Caesar Cure

That last margarita was definitely not necessary. I awoke this morning to a trail of clothes leading from the front door to the kitchen, where I had stopped off to grab a glass of water before planting my face in a pillow. Note that I did not actually drink the water, despite the advice of the drag queen in house slippers who read our palms on a dimly lit street corner somewhere in the West Village. But that’s another story.

Something healthy and restorative was in order.


Kale Caesar

  1. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-low with half a tablespoon of butter and a thinly sliced garlic glove.
  2. Cube a slice or two of stale bread. (I had some sourdough rye on hand.) Add the pieces to the skillet, stirring to coat. Add some salt and pepper, turn the heat down to low and stir occasionally while you continue your preparations. If you have not figured it out yet, the goal here is quick croutons.
  3. Hard boil an egg. Put an egg in a small saucepan, add water to cover and place over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, wait a minute or two, then turn off the heat and let the hot water continue cooking your egg for about ten minutes. Drain the water and cool the egg quickly by adding a couple of rounds of cold water and maybe even some ice. (This helps ward off that greenish gray ring that screams Continental breakfast at a crappy chain hotel the morning after your friends’ wedding.)
  4. Toss the following ingredients into a food processor or mash together with the back of a fork: 3 anchovies (I used sardines because I had an open tin), juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1 clove garlic, pinch of cayenne, pinch of sugar, black pepper.
  5. Rinse and finely shred your kale. I went with some young lacinato, which is also known as dinosaur kale, that I got in last week’s CSA share.
  6. Add the kale, dressing, croutons, some grated parmesan or romano cheese, and a pinch of smoked sea salt if you’ve got it. Toss the salad and add your peeled, sliced egg.

This plus an iced coffee and I am feeling a good bit better. Now if I can just figure out how to get the remaining glitter off of my eyelids before this afternoon’s babysitting gig.

Whore’s Radishes

Spending the better part of a day preparing a lavish dinner for friends is a meditative and restorative activity for me. But at 8:30 on a Tuesday night, I just want to get something tasty and nutritious into my stomach as quickly as possible.


I opened the fridge to discover that the greens atop these radishes were beginning to wilt. If you haven’t caught on by now, I am a bit obsessed with dark leafy greens. Last summer, unable to bear the thought of throwing out such a bounty of greenery (and after having Googled to ensure that they were not poisonous), I decided to try eating the radish greens. They’ve got a slightly rough texture and a bitter, peppery flavor similar to the radish itself, but much more subtle. That is to say, they are delicious.

Tonight I prepared the radishes and radish greens alla puttanesca, which translates as “whore’s style.” There are a number of variations on this, but they all include a variety of savory ingredients–including tomatoes, garlic, onions, chiles, anchovies, capers and olives. Note that these are ingredients that keep well in the pantry or fridge, ready to deliver a burst of flavor whenever you need it.

For this dish, I added a couple of anchovy filets, a tablespoon of olive oil, half a tablespoon of butter (to promote browning), one thinly sliced garlic scape (regular garlic would have been fine, but it’s what I had), and a big pinch of red pepper flakes to a cast iron skillet over medium heat. After a few minutes of stirring, I had a nicely seasoned browned butter. In went the radishes, cut into wedges. I was getting some nice color on them, but they weren’t cooking as quickly as I had hoped, so I added some water to help them along. When the water was nearly gone, I added the radish greens (which you want to wash a little more thoroughly than I did, as they tend toward gritty) and sautéed them. At the last moment, I threw in a tablespoon of capers and 10 or so oil-cured olives that I had chopped and pitted. I finished the dish with some ricotta cheese for a little protein. This would be awesome with some whole wheat pasta.