Last weekend we hosted a dinner party with four new-ish friends. I hope it will be the first of many... there was much laughter and wine and truly awesome food. We cooked potluck style and while I loved all of the food, my favorite dish was a kale salad.
Yes, that is right. Kale salad. Truthfully, had you asked me before that night if I even liked kale, I probably would have said "sure", but without much enthusiasm and mostly because I know that I should like kale. After all, how excited can someone really be about greens?
Rob has cautioned me about raving too much about certain recipes, so instead I'll just tell you that in the week since I first had the kale salad, I have made it twice at home. Once I made a double recipe and I ate it for lunch three times last week (and again at dinner). When we finished the double batch, I went to Whole Foods for more kale so I could make it again. I'm not raving, per se, just stating the quantities in which I am willing (and eager) to eat this salad.
What I love about this salad is threefold. First, the kale stays crisp and crunchy for days unlike lettuce and most other salad greens. The one item in this salad that doesn't hold up for days on end is the pears, which you might want to add each day if you don't plan to serve all of this salad the day you make it. Second, the dressing is dynamite. I am not a huge dressing person, but this is healthy and tangy and complements the kale and other ingredients. This isn't a salad for serving the dressing on the side -- you need to toss the dressing with the salad and fully coat the kale. Third, it just tastes great.
The original recipe called for persimmons instead of pears. After trips to three separate upscale grocery stores that seemed likely to carry persimmons, I gave up and used pears. I think they are delicious and clearly they are more readily accessible (at least in Denver). If you have access to persimmons and give this salad a try, please let me know how they are.
Kale Salad with Pears
Adapted from this recipe on Food52
Yield = 6 appetizer servings
5-6 cups of shredded kale (approximately one head)
4 medium pears (green apples are just as good... maybe even better)
1 cup chopped, roasted walnuts
1/2 cup crumbly blue cheese or gorgonzola
1 lemon, halved
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I prefer a grainy Dijon)
salt + pepper to taste
Mix the kale with the juice of half a lemon and leave to marinate in the fridge for about an hour. (You can omit this step if pressed for time, but it won’t be as good!)
Meanwhile, prep the dressing by whisking the olive oil into the yogurt. Then, blend in the juice of the other lemon half, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Season to your liking with salt and pepper and set aside.
Crumble the cheese, slice the pears and chop the walnuts if this hasn’t been done. Gently toss the pears and walnuts with the kale. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss. Top the salad with the gorgonzola or blue cheese. It’s possible that you may have a little dressing leftover, depending on how much kale you used. If so, refrigerate for future use.