Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Greens Salad

It's like seeing your child in a suit and tie. All of a sudden he's not your little boy any more, but a young (and quite handsome) young man. Even though he's had a beard since high school and is taller than his dad (who, at 6'4", presented quite a challenge), somehow I was never able to completely rid my brain of the picture of him as a kid.

What does that have to do with the lacinato kale pictured above? The first time I made this kale salad, it gave me a whole new vision of what green salad could be. Heartier than a lettuce salad, not like the sautéed greens I've come to crave this past year, it's something new.

The recipe's from my neighbor Susana, whose Asian Chicken Wings have been the hit of so many appetizer spreads. Thoroughly mixing the greens with the olive oil, lemon and salt ahead of time and letting them naturally wilt (called a "quick cure") still leaves the kale with a toothsome texture and somehow sweetens the flavor. This would be great with any barbecued meat, from chicken to pork, and could be livened up with chopped egg, toasted pine nuts or bacon bits.

Kale Salad

1 bunch kale
2-3 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt, to taste
Fresh-ground pepper to taste

With knife, remove center veins from kale. Stack several leaves together and slice into 1/2" strips and do the same with the rest of the leaves. Place in large salad bowl, add oil, lemon juice and salt. Using your hands, work the oil mixture into the leaves for at least a minute, then let sit on the counter for at least 20 minutes to cure. Adjust seasoning to taste and add any additional ingredients just before serving.

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