Earlier this week I shared one of my new favorite soups, Creamy Southwestern Pumpkin Soup from A Year on the Plate, the new Dallas~based regional cookbook from the Dallas County Master Gardener Association. I prepared the soup at a cooking class. But that’s not all. I also showed my students how to prepare a delicious salad featuring kale. Now I’m not crazy about cooked greens, but I love kale raw in a salad. The slightly bitter greens and heavier texture are great in the fall and winter. The warm vinaigrette with cranberries and almonds is a perfect pairing with the kale, adding some tartness and crunchiness. Crumbled goat cheese provides a bit of creaminess. If you want a soup and salad combination for a fireside dinner, a chilly Sunday afternoon or a just a fall first~course, Kale Salad with Warm Cranberry Almond Vinaigrette is the salad for the season.
Choosing Your Kale
You can choose any type of kale you like for this recipe. I choose a combination of curly organic kale and lacinato kale, (called cavolo nero, literally “black cabbage”, in Italian) a variety of kale with a long tradition in Italian cuisine, especially that of Tuscany, and very popular right now. I like to mix up the greens for color and texture for a more interesting presentation. You can see the organic kale on the left and the darker, longer leaf lacinato on the right.
Prepping the Kale
Whatever type of kale you choose, just make sure that you thoroughly wash the kale because it can be really gritty. You can fill your sink or a large bowl with water, put the kale leaves in, swish them around in the water, and drain the water. I recommend repeating this procedure at least twice. Then pat the kale leaves dry.
Next you must cut out the ribs of the kale. They are tough and really inedible. Use a sharp knife t0 cut down each side of the enter rib and remove. Then you can tear or cut the kale leaves into small pieces or strips.
NOTE: at this point, you can wrap the kale in paper towels and chill in the refrigerator or place in salad bowl until you are ready to assemble the salad.
You will need a large sauté pan to make the vinaigrette. It’s quick, just under 10 minutes to prepare.
Kale Salad with Warm Cranberry Almond Vinaigrette
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
- 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 cups dried cranberries
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 teaspoons honey
- juice and zest of ½ lemon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 punches kale, stems removed, washed and thinly sliced
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium~heat.
- Add shallot and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add cranberries, red wine vinegar, honey, lemon juice, and zest, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, toss the kale with the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil and an extra pinch of salt. Massage the kale with your fingers for 1 minute until tender.
- Add the warm cranberry vinaigrette and almonds and toss to combine.
- Taste a leaf for seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if desired.
- Serve topped with crumbled cheese.
Our weather just turned cooler again after several days of way~too~warm weather. I plan to make this salad for Sweet Shark this weekend. I hope that you’ll make it too.
Have a lovely weekend.
Link Parties I joined this week: