I’ve been slow to jump onto the latest superfood bandwagon. Lest you’ve been living under a rock, it’s kale — kale cooked with quinoa, raw kale salad, kale done up every which way. It reminds me of oat bran and how in the 1980’s everyone thought it was a cure for high cholesterol. Oat bran was sold out everywhere for months, until enough people actually got around to tasting it.
I think Julia Child got it right when a reporter asked her if she ate oat bran and she replied, “I don’t. As soon as something becomes trendy, I don’t eat it.”
Against my better judgment, I broke down and tried this recipe for kale salad from my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, figuring that if Deb likes kale, I’d give it a go. We had it for dinner the other night with roast chicken. Verdict? It was…good. I’m not going to wax effusive and say that we all fought for the last bits, but it wasn’t…as bad as I thought it would be.
Quite an endorsement, isn’t it? Here’s a better one — I bought more kale to make the salad again tonight. How’s that?
There are some extra steps to making this salad. You have to toast the walnuts, soak the raisins in vinegar and water and toast the bread crumbs. Yes, you can skip these steps, but I’d be compelled to call you a party pooper.
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or regular dry breadcrumbs)
1 small clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch tuscan kale (also known as lacinato or black kale) washed and patted dry
2 Tbsp. pecorino cheese, grated (I used Parmesan)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Walnuts: toast walnuts in a 350 degree oven until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool and coarsely chop.
Golden raisins: in a small saucepan, simmer vinegar, water and golden raisins for about 5 minutes, until raisins are plump. Set aside.
Breadcrumbs: in a small skillet heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil and add panko breadcrumbs and garlic. Toast crumbs until lightly browned.
Kale: trim off kale stems (the easiest way is to hold the center stem with one hand, cup the other hand around the kale and pull off the leaves). Stack the kale leaves and very thinly slice them into ribbons.
Place the kale into a large serving bowl and add walnuts, raisins, remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil, lemon juice and cheese. Toss until the kale is coated with dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste and the remaining liquid left from the soaked raisins. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. (I made this several hours ahead and found that the kale softens the longer it sits. It’s even better the next day.) The panko breadcrumbs are best when they are crunchy, so add them when you serve the salad.
WW PP per serving: 5 (due to the walnuts, raisins and olive oil)