Tuscan Kale Salad with raisins, almonds, Pecorino, all dressed up in a lemony salad dressing might make one ask what the fuss about kale is all about.
Kale is trendy. Kale is healthy. Kale is a super food. Kale is here to stay. Kale is versatile.
These are all true statements. But notice that I didn’t say kale tastes good and I’ll tell you why.
Kale, in and of itself, is a rough, tough, grassy green, friendlier than turnip greens or mustard greens, but not as friendly as raw spinach. However, when marinated in a salad dressing, I find it superior to spinach for a salad. Raw spinach sometimes leaves a film in your mouth and cooked spinach cooks down to nothing. Kale does neither. Also, Kale can be dressed hours in advance, and it holds its shape. Even overnight.
Make a kale smoothie or put kale in the right salad dressing and kale is transformed.
While much of God’s good produce can be eaten all by itself when it’s picked, such as a carrot or an apple, kale needs to dressed with a bit of fat and acid. Once, kale is understood and properly attended to, it takes on an unusual seductive charm.
Here in the Southeast of America, kale has become the “it” salad. It’s hard to find a restaurant that doesn’t serve it, and this salad was featured in the supper club I participated in. Kale has gone mainstream in an era of people rushing to eat sensible farm food that can be elevated to gourmet status. Kale is performing well with its new found popularity and nearly every day I hear about a convert, someone who used to hate kale and now eats it all the time. (I was one of those).
The Tuscan Kale Salad
This is a sexy kale salad because the salt in the pecorino and the heat in the cracked chili pepper mingle together with the acid in the lemon to make you want to take one more bite and then one more bite. It’s similar to the kale salad I made here, but I added in pecorino cheese and raisins for texture. This is the side salad to serve when you’re grilling boneless chicken breast. The aroma of toasted almonds and the lemony dressing and Pecorino hit your nose first. The almonds give crunch, the raisins some sweet chewy texture and the pepper flakes add zing, while the shavings of Pecorino Romano bring in perfection as yet another layer of flavor.
This is so good, you might just want to add in some chicken or shrimp and call it a main course summer dinner. Be sure to use genuine Pecorino Romano and leave it out for at least twenty minutes before you shave it. It’s very salty and flavorful. You can use a good Parmesan as a substitute, and on the milder side, even a Manchego cheese would work. It won’t have the same bite as a Pecorino Cheese, but goes well with a lemony dressing.
So tell me, have you gotten on the kale band wagon yet? Do you have a favorite kale salad? Leave a link if you do.
- SALAD DRESSING
- 1 small clove garlic cut in quarters
- 1 tablespoon of lemon
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
- 1 one bunch of Lacinato kale, ribs removed, chopped finely
- ¼ cup golden raisins (regular raisins or even dried cranberries will do)
- ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
- 1 ounce of Pecorino Romano Cheese
- sea salt
- black pepper
- dd garlic clove and chile to olive oil and let sit for twenty minutes or longer. Remove garlic. Mix vinegar and lemon. Slowly add olive oil to lemon mixture.
- Toss chopped kale leaves with half of the dressing. Add more as needed. add in raisins, toasted almonds.
- Using a mandolin or cheese grater, slice paper thin slices of pecorino over the salad.
- Season with salt and pepper.