Friday, February 12, 2010

Kale Salad

Sometimes mistakes in the kitchen turn out wonderfully well. I had bought kale to go in a soup recipe and collard greens to use as a side dish for something else. I got confused, however, and ended up using the collard greens in the soup. It was no big deal for the soup, but I didn’t want to use the kale in the side dish recipe that was meant for collard greens. What to do? Justin suggested we use the kale as a side dish for our lunches that week. Great idea. I had been trying to perfect a kale salad off and on, and I figured this was the opportunity to try again.

I kept it simple: kale, vinaigrette, cheddar, and dried cranberries. Oh, the beauty of simplicity! It turned out to be quite tasty. I stemmed and chopped the kale into thin strips, based the vinaigrette on a recipe found in The New Moosewood Cookbook, and added a bit of sharp cheddar for interest. The vinaigrette called for red wine vinegar, but I used old white wine that had pretty much turned to vinegar. I also added the juice from half of a lemon. Feel free to experiment with this Kale Salad recipe. You could also substitute Parmesan cheese in place of the cheddar. Any hard cheese with a strong flavor would work well. I’m really glad I was forced to try to perfect this salad – now I plan to use it as a staple recipe!

Kale Salad
Serves about 4

1 bunch kale, rinsed* and stemmed
About 1/2 cup white wine vinaigrette (recipe below)
About 1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar
3 tablespoons dried cranberries, chopped
Chop kale into thin ribbon strips. Add the vinaigrette, using more or less, to taste. Stir in the cheese and cranberries.

*I’ve found the best way to rinse kale, especially the curly kind, is to fill a large bowl or pot with water. Immerse the whole bunch of kale into the water and swirl it around. If the kale seems particularly sandy, drain the water and repeat the process. The last thing you want as you take a bite of your perfect, simple salad is to get grit in your teeth. This method works for any type of greens. After rinsing, use a salad spinner to dry, or shake the leaves well and spread them in a single layer on some lint-free towels until they’re mostly dry.

White Wine Vinaigrette
Makes just over 1 cup – you can either cut down the recipe to use just for this salad, or you can store the extra in an airtight container in the refrigerator for weeks.

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 tablespoons white wine vinegar OR old white wine
¾ teaspoon salt
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
Juice from half of a lemon

Combine everything in a jar, seal, and shake well. Or, whisk well in a bowl. Shake or whisk just before pouring on salad.

Printable Recipe

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