Salads made with kale became a bit trendy a few years ago and many restaurants still have them as a menu fixture. Kale salad can range from the downright awful – chunks of raw kale tipped straight from the supermarket bag, stalks and all and completely inedible – to the sublime.
Really good kale salads are dense, soft and satisfying. The sort of salad that even after five minutes of eating, the pile on your plate has magically remained the same size.
This version is one of my favorites. You can add finely minced onion, all sorts of fruit dried or otherwise and toasted nuts give it crunch and substance.
The trick is to work the chopped kale with a little sea salt in your hands to soften and transform it to what seems like a semi-cooked state before adding everything else.
Kale salad tastes even better on day two, so make extra.
Note: have you ever thought of roasting kale in the oven? Kale crisps are incredibly simple to make and a great way to get kids of all ages to eat their greens – recipe below. They make a delicious, healthy appetizer or snack that won’t stick around for long one you’ve offered them up (but don’t serve them outside if it’s remotely breezy as they’ll float away before you can say “yum!”)
1 bunch of kale, rinsed and torn into small pieces, stalk and tough ribs discarded – or a 5 oz (140g) packet of tender, baby kale
1 level teaspoon of sea salt
1/3 cup (80ml measure) of lightly toasted pine nuts (toast them in a dry skillet and watch like a hawk as they can burn in a nanosecond)
¼ cup (60ml measure) of dried currants
¼ cup (60ml measure) of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
½ tablespoon of clear honey
1/3 cup (80ml measure) of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Chop the kale leaves very finely then tip them into a large bowl with the sea salt and work it with your fingers, massaging the kale until it wilts.
Transfer to another bowl, discarding any green liquid.
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and honey and add this to the kale along with everything else, except for the grated Parmigiano Reggiano.
Let it sit at room temp for 20 mins then adjust the dressing to taste and finally add the cheese.
Give it all a good final toss, cover and chill in the fridge for 1 hour and up to 2 days.
OVEN BAKED KALE CRISPS
1 bunch of kale, rinsed, tough stem and ribs removed, leaves torn into bite sized pieces
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C
Line a cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan with baking parchment
Pat the kale dry and toss it with the olive oil, making sure every piece is well coated. Add the sea salt and toss again.
Arrange the kale on the baking sheet and bake for 10 mins, or until the edges have turned a light golden brown. Serve immediately.