Saturday, September 7, 2013

A new spin on kale salad...

I happen to be surrounded by kale fanatics. Julia is insane for kale, and Emily pretty much lives exclusively on the stuff. Don't get me wrong-- I like that dark green, leafy superfood plenty-- but those ladies LOVE it with a love that I usually reserve for people and pets.

I just tried out this new recipe with Julia, and we were both equally impressed. And Julia's no easy sell, so that must mean it's really good. I've edited this recipe slightly from the original, as I'm not crazy about raisins and didn't have any handy, but if you like them, suit yourself and head over to Smitten Kitchen to see the recipe in its entirety.

Kale salad, photo stolen from Smitten Kitchen. 

Kale Salad with Pecorino & Walnuts (but most importantly panko flakes!)

1/2 cup (105 grams or 3 3/4 ounces) walnut halves or pieces
1/4 cup panko (15 grams or 1/2 ounce) or slightly coarse homemade breadcrumbs (from a thin slice of hearty bread)
1 tiny clove garlic, minced or pressed
Coarse or kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch (about 14 ounces or 400 grams) tuscan kale (also known as black or lacinato kale; this is the thinner, flatter leaf variety), washed and patted dry
2 ounces (55 grams) pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor, which makes it delightfully rubbly (1/2 cup total)
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste

Prepare walnuts: Heat oven to 350. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop.
Prepare crumbs: Toast bread crumbs, garlic and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.
Prepare kale: Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs. I always find removing the ribs annoying with a knife, because the leaves want to roll in on the knife and make it hard to get a clean cut. Instead, I’ve taken to tearing the ribs off with my fingers, which is much easier for me. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise.
Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino and walnuts, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, a final 1 teaspoon drizzle of olive oil.

Talk about an easy dinner for two. 
Delish! And a superfood! 

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