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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Raw Kale Salad with Cranberries, Pecans and Parmesan

In the middle of the work week, I have been finding myself uninspired and unmotivated to create thoughtful meals lately.  I love food. I love eating food. But I also really enjoy planning and preparing food for myself and others to enjoy eating. It's just that I've been stuck in a rut of eating the same things lately, and anyone who knows me will know that I get B-O-R-E-D with food very quickly when eating repetitively.

So tonight, we made a quick trip to Whole Foods on our way home, and surprisingly they have better prices on some of the produce items we frequently get anyway wherever we shop.  We still get most of our mainstream stuff somewhere less pricey, but for good fresh produce we do like going there from time to time.

Anyway, tonight I picked up a bunch of "Dinosaur Kale" (Lacinato Kale) which I have never bought before.  I am not a stranger to kale, but usually go for the curly variety. From the ever trustworthy Wikipedia:
"Lacinato kale has dark blue-green leaves, with an "embossed texture"; its taste is described as "slightly sweeter and more delicate ... than curly kale."[5] Because of its taste, "slightly bitter [and] earthy",[6] it has been called "the darling of the culinary world".  

Dinosaur Kale looks like this: 

I had no recipe in mind specifically, but wanted to make some sort of raw kale salad.  Whole Foods sells one in their deli section already made, which I have had before and is great, but I wanted to try my hand at my own version. Here's what I came up with. 

Raw Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries, Pecans, and Parmesan 
with Lemon Vinaigrette 

1 bunch Lacinato Kale ($2.49 at Whole Foods for organic variety)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Tear the kale leaves away from the stems and into small bite sized pieces. Discard the stems. Put into a salad spinner or bowl filled with warm water, and gently "massage" kale for a few minutes. They will begin to soften and wilt ever so slightly.  Spin the kale dry. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the juice of half of the lemon, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and honey.  If too runny, whisk in a little more olive oil until desired consistency. 

Season kale with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste - definitely taste it here, because the salt really adds a nice element to salad and will otherwise be a bit flat without it. 

Sprinkle on cranberries, pecans, and Parmesan, then toss with vinaigrette.  Let sit in airtight container in refrigerator a few hours or overnight, and the dressing will absorb into the kale and continue to soften the leaves. 

1 comment:

  1. I make almost the same salad but use spinach, dried cherries, sunflower seeds, shaved parmesan, grapes halved and any other veg on top with the homemade lemon vinaigrette. Yummy isn't it. I'll have to try it with kale, pecans and cranberries now.