Wednesday, March 14, 2012
To celebrate my gratitude at returning to my beloved domestic routine, I offer a salad that I have made at least once a week for the past year. After years of valiantly trying to feel enthusiastic about having a big, healthy salad for lunch (and failing when the option of a toastie was always just so much more appealing), I have discovered the wonders of a salad made with raw kale. These are threefold:
1. You can make it ahead of time—in fact it’s better that way—and it retains its crunch and snap. For days, even.
2. It actually fills me up. Unlike every other salad I have tried to make into lunch, which, unless I load it with so much cheese that its health benefits are rendered negligible, leaves me ravenous by 3pm.
3. Kale is way cheaper than spinach or most fancy lettuces, and you don’t need as much of it to fill you up.
I know a lot of people are skeptical about the idea of eating raw kale, but I have made this for dozens of guests in the past year, and served it without divulging any details. People go out of their way to compliment this salad, including self-confessed salad haters.
As I said above, the salad is better if you make it and dress it some time ahead of when you plan to eat it, because the acid in the dressing wilts the kale somewhat and softens its fibrous texture. I usually aim to have the salad dressed at least 30 minutes before when I’ll be serving it, and 2 or 3 hours is even better—perfect for when you’ve got guests coming.
I have listed what I use to make this most often, but any number of other typical salad items would also be good here. (When I eat this for lunch, I often add some grated hard cheese, crumbled pita chips, etc.)
1 bunch kale
1 medium carrot
1 small red onion
6 tsp/30 ml acid (vinegar, lemon juice)
6 Tbsp/90 ml oil
1 tsp/5 g sweetener (sugar, maple syrup) (optional)
salt & pepper
1. Remove the kale stems. (I do this by running a knife between the stem and the leafy part.)
2. Slice the kale into the thinnest ribbons you can manage.
3. Put sliced kale into cold water to soak while you get on with the next bit.
4. Prep whatever other things you are putting in the salad and put them in a large bowl.
5. Make the dressing. (I do this by putting all the ingredients in a jar and shaking it vigorously.)
6. Drain and dry the kale using whatever method you have available. (I love my salad spinner.)
7. Add the kale to the large salad bowl, pour over half of the dressing, and mix thoroughly.
8. Taste and add more dressing until salad is coated to your satisfaction. Adjust seasonings.
9. Leave salad to sit at room temperature until ready to serve.
This makes enough salad for at least 6 people to have as a side, probably more. I almost always have leftovers--count on them, in fact, for a ready-made lunch the next day.