Each Wednesday I pick up a bag of fresh produce from my local CSA, and each Wednesday I am faced with the challenge of what to do with another bunch of kale. The dilemma has recently escalated thanks to the Pressed Juicery cleanse I embarked upon two months ago—the only lasting results of which have been that the very mention of kale renders me completely hostile and irritable, much like the cleanse itself.
And yet the kale keeps coming. Today my friend Christine offered me a lifeline and shared her husband Andrew’s recipe for a raw kale salad with lemon juice, salt and grated pecorino. I remembered seeing a similar version in the New York Times from Melissa Clark, which I ended up using (minus the bread crumbs). And you know what? I’m ADDICTED! The flavors are so fresh and tangy, and the cheese adds just a hint of nuttiness. It was spectacular alongside grilled corn from our farm bag and a beautiful piece of Alaskan salmon my sister brought over this evening:
Melissa’s recipe calls for Tuscan kale, but I used curly kale and julienned the raw kale into tiny slivers, as my main objection to other raw kale salads you find at, say, Whole Foods with larger pieces of kale is the lock jaw that comes from chewing the stuff. I hope you enjoy Melissa’s recipe as much as I did! And of course, keep the kale ideas coming!
Raw Tuscan Kale Salad with Pecorino (slightly adapted)
This recipe also appears in Melissa Clark’s excellent cookbook, In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite
1 bunch Tuscan kale (also known as black or lacinato kale)
1 thin slice country bread (part whole-wheat or rye is nice), or 1/4 cup homemade bread crumbs (coarse)
1/2 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, more for garnish
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for garnish
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
Trim bottom 2 inches off kale stems and discard. Slice kale, including ribs, into 3/4-inch-wide ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place kale in a large bowl.
If using bread, toast it until golden on both sides. Tear it into small pieces and grind in a food processor until mixture forms coarse crumbs.
Using a mortar and pestle, pound garlic into a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer garlic mixture to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper flakes and black pepper, and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over kale and toss very well to thoroughly combine (dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat leaves).
Let salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with bread crumbs, additional cheese and a drizzle of oil.
Oh, and don’t forget to “garnish” with a gorgeous glass of 2009 Ponzi Rosato Pinot Noir ($15)…