For some reason, winter decided to pay us a re-visit starting on the first day of Spring. We had a tease of warm weather and BAM! time to pile on the winter coats, hats, and scarves. Summer may not be in the air, but I’ve been keeping up my hopes for spring and summer by focusing on salads in my kitchen. Salads aren’t really my thing as a main course. I have a preference for hot meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That said, if it isn’t a salad that relies on iceberg lettuce, I love a side salad at lunch or dinner. So, with the success of my raw Brussels sprouts salad, I decided to give a shot at a raw kale salad.
The recipe is based on a Kale, Salad with Dates, Parmesan and Almonds recipe from SELF magazine last December. I only had hazelnuts leftover from the Brussels sprout salad recipe on hand so I used those instead of the almonds. No shallots either, so I used a ¼ of a red onion. I also used a combination of purple and green kale. I learned from doing a little reading on raw kale that smaller leaves are usually more delicate and better for consuming raw. It actually amazes me that we can eat kale raw when so many recipes really cook it to death (I’m guilty of this too!). My mistake in following the SELF recipe was too many red pepper flakes. It is my own fault for being too lazy to use measuring spoons. I just tried to shake that little bottle just gently enough to get a few more flakes and BAM! (just like winter) I was overzealous and a whole cluster of those little guys went falling into my dressing. No matter how hard I tried to skim them carefully out of the mixture, it was still too much. It was edible, but a bit much for a salad. In fact, I think you can probably remove them altogether from the recipe and I’ve done so in the recipe that appears below. Other than that little snafu, the salad was very hearty, we enjoyed this with a grilled rib-eye for dinner.
NOTE: Letting the fresh kale rest within the dressing for at least 20-30 minutes is key to softening up the kale.
KALE SALAD WITH DATES, PARMESAN AND HAZELNUTS
¼ red onion, chopped and rinsed
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
juice from ½ a lemon
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 bunches of kale leaves, finely chopped and removed from stems
2 Tablespoons olive oil
8-10 dates pitted and chipped
1/3 cup of Parmesan shavings
To finely chop the kale for this salad, first remove the kale leaves from the stems by running your knife along the stem to separate the leaves.
Then chop the leaves into long, thin strips (chiffonade, in fancy cooking terms).
Once the red onions are chopped and rinsed, drain them and drizzle with the vinegar and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey and salt. Add the red onions and salt to the dressing and combine.
Drizzle the dressing over the kale in a large bowl and toss well. Let the kale sit for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Before serving, add the olive oil and toss together.
Toast the nuts. I do this in the toaster oven for 3 minutes on the toast function. Let the nuts cool slightly then toss them together with the dates, Parmesan and kale.