My friend Leslie makes the best salad in the universe. Oftentimes at her house, I will opt for more salad instead of dessert – her salad is that good. It’s really all because of the dressing. I will give you the recipe/technique, but tell you that hers is always better than mine. Smash two garlic cloves with about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and make a paste. Scrape this slurry [Leslie's term for this substance] from the cutting board into a jar with 1/2 cup olive oil and a splash or two of vinegar. Shake to emulsify. Yum.
Last time I went to dinner at her house, she served a raw kale salad that was easily one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Thanks in part to Tom’s kale-o-rific fall garden, I have made it at our house probably four times in the last two weeks. In addition to tasting so damn good, eating kale always makes me feel virtuous, as if this one particular vegetable somehow neutralizes all the coffee and Nutella I consume on a regular basis. Well, anyway, it can’t hurt.
Raw Kale Salad
- 2 bunches kale with center stems removed, (be sure kale is really dry after washing)
- 1/4 cup manchego cheese, slivered (crumbled feta would be good too)
- 1/3 cup toasted almonds, pecans or walnuts
- 2 T dried cranberries
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 t lemon juice
- salt, pepper, granulated garlic and chipotle powder (to taste)
Chop the kale into small pieces. Leslie would tell you to chiffonade the kale – but she grew up in Europe, and you know, I’m from NJ. Massage with olive oil, lemon juice and spices. The kale will literally wilt beneath your fingers and turn tender in a very short amount of time. Taste and adjust spices. Add cheese, nuts and cranberries. Toss, serve and try not to eat the whole bowl yourself!!