I have said that the world would be better if everyone stopped pretending kale is tasty (on the page). I don’t know what I am doing. I have said that the internet doesn’t need another kale-based salad. Am I on the right blog? But I can’t stop myself. Last weekend I had a kale salad that I will never forget. Unfortunately, my life and various legal statutes do not permit me to move to Barbuto. (I’m thinking about it even as I write this… Would they notice? I have always wanted to add more windows …), so I decided to try it out at home. It would be rude to hide it if I was going to make it at home. Here, we don’t have any cooking secrets.
The Chef’s Table was for my husband’s Birthday on Saturday. If this were a blog about restaurants, this paragraph would have been, It was so delicious, squid, vegetables! Every dish was better than before, and They were so generous! You’d quickly understand why I don’t. I only want to talk about those parts of great meals that I can bring back into my kitchen, which brings us to the kale.
Yes, kale. You know, I’ve come around to kale! I realized I didn’t hate it as much as I was skeptical of the enthusiasm surrounding it. I thought it resulted from a PR team that only a troubled mayoral candidate could hope for. The kale chip of 2010 did not do much to persuade me [ducks, sends oneself home in shame from the internet]. It turns out that I prefer kale to slaws – raw, thinly sliced, with a dressing that is not too heavy and just enough extra kicks. Golden raisins are gently plumped in wine vinegar with toasted walnuts, crunchy breadcrumbs toasted in olive oils, and a generous amount of aged pecorino Romano. We first ate the kale salad at home and in the restaurant. Sheesh! Even the resident’s 3-year-old took a bite. This is a big hit in my household.
Kale Salad With Pecorino And Walnuts
Please consider this as a tale of 2 recipes. One that is bare-bones (add the walnuts, raisins, and crumbs to the cake without any extra preparation) and another if you want more depth in each. The two recipes work well, but it’s worth the extra effort to toast the nuts and cook the crumbs with olive oil. The salad will be a hit, and you won’t regret it. You can also choose your adventure by doing more with some ingredients and less with others.
This was the perfect dinner for a weeknight. We paired it with our first tortilla de patatas of the summer (Spanish potatoes, eggs, and olive oil). This reminded me to simplify and update my 2007 recipe. View it here.
1/4 cup (45g or 1 1/2 ounces or 1/2 cup) golden raisins
White wine vinegar, one tablespoon
One tablespoon of water
1/4 cup homemade breadcrumbs or panko (15g or 1/2 ounce).
One small clove of garlic, minced (or pressed)
Salt coarse or kosher
Olive oil three tablespoons
Wash and pat dry one bunch of Tuscan kale, lacinato kale, or black kale. This is the smaller, flatter-leaved variety.
Pecorino cheese (55 grams), grated in a food processor to make it rubbly. (1/2 cup total).
Half a lemon juice
To taste, freshly ground black pepper or red chili flakes
Preparing walnuts: Preheat oven to 350. Toasted walnuts are toasted on a baking tray for 10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
Preparing raisins: In a small saucepan, over low heat, simmer water, white wine vinegar, and raisins until soft and plump. Set aside liquid.
Toast the breadcrumbs with garlic, two teaspoons of olive oil, and a pinch of salt in a skillet until golden. Set aside.
Prepare Kale: Remove ribs and trim heavy stems from kale. The leaves tend to roll onto the knife when I try to remove the ribs with a blade. It’s challenging to make a clean cut. I have started tearing off the ribs with my fingertips, which makes it much more manageable. Roll sections of leaves into a tube and then cut into thin ribbons.
Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add the pecorino cheese, walnuts, and raisins (leaving behind any vinegar mixture leftover in the dish), two tablespoons of remaining olive oil, and lemon, and toss everything together until all kale is coated. Salt, pepper and a little vinegar mixture reserved from the raisins can adjust the seasonings. Let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes before serving if you can. This will help to bring together all of the ingredients. Toss in breadcrumbs just before serving and drizzle with olive oil if necessary.