Unbelievable Kale Salad

The first Friday of the month is reserved for recipes. You can see additional First Friday Food posts here.

The Reason:

As I mentioned on my last kale recipe, we had a LOT of kale in the garden this year. It just kept going, and going, and going. As a result, we were on the hunt for as many new kale recipes as possible, and we had a lot of really good surprises.

This is one of them; it is one of the best salads I have ever had in my life.

The Journey:

I don’t think of this as being a particularly difficult thing to make, but I guess when it comes to salad, it’s a little more difficult than the average. The original recipe says you can skip some or all of the “optional” part. You cannot. I will not allow it.

walnuts

The nice thing is that there are a lot of different steps that don’t need to be done all at once. You can do the walnuts, go away for an hour, come back and do the raisins, wander away again, do breadcrumbs, etc. Also, you’re supposed to let it sit for awhile anyway, so no worries on making it ahead of time. We’ve even put the breadcrumbs in ahead of time, and they don’t seem to get soggy or suffer in any way.

toasted breadcrumbs

The Verdict:

I do not get sick of this salad. It’s got everything; it’s tasty, unique, healthy, has a good texture, the works. It’s one of the best things I know how to make. We’ve taken it as a dish to pass for Thanksgiving, a school potluck, and a New Year’s Eve party. I don’t know anybody who’s tried it and hasn’t liked it.

I should note that we substituted pepitas for the walnuts, since the school potluck was a nut-free event, and it was absolutely just as good.

Kale salad

The Recipe:

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

  • 1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (we use orange champagne vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tiny clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • Coarse or kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and patted dry
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) pecorino (or parmesan) cheese, grated
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste
  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop.
  3. In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid.
  4. Toast bread crumbs, garlic and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.
  5. Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs. Cut kale into very thin ribbons crosswise and put in a large bowl.
  6. Add pecorino, walnuts and raisins (including all of the vinegar mixture), remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together.
  9. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs.
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