Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Kale Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

St. Patrick's Day is a perfect day to talk about this green roughage.  Either you love kale or you hate it.  I happen to be one who enthusiastically loves it.  I used to avoid it because I thought it was too chewy unless cooked until it wilted down to something digestible, in which case it was too mushy and just...no.  No thanks.

Then one day at a family gathering last year, everything changed!

At this family gathering, we all brought a dish to share.  I can't remember what Andy and I brought but I do remember this kale salad that my brother-in-law (a chef!) brought.  This beautiful kale salad.  The kale was somehow tender and perfectly flavored with salt and lemon, paired with pomegranate seeds and Parmesan shavings.  YUM.  

I didn't ask for the recipe that day.  Instead I showed my appreciation for the salad by helping myself to round two (possible three, who knows).  I asked a few weeks later how he did it and a my love affair with kale salads began.

As I mentioned in this post, you have to toss the kale in lemon juice and salt to tenderize and break it down a bit.  I like to wash and trim kale as soon as I get it home from the grocery store.  Once it is dry, I'll pour fresh squeezed lemon juice over top of it, sprinkle a few generous pinches of salt and then shake it up in a container and put it in the fridge.  

It holds up this way for at least three days and is basically ready to go when you're ready to eat it!

Again, I LOVE this citrus juicer from Crate & Barrel, it's a little miracle worker.  I rave about it some more in this post on Citrusy Rosemary Potatoes.  If you juice a lot of lemons or other citrus, get one.  It is such a time saver.

My Pomegranate Vinaigrette is more of an art than a science.  This picture doesn't necessarily add up but I'll try to describe what I do for the vinaigrette.

I always includes something like these ingredients:

3 to 4 tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
1/2 c Olive Oil
1/3 c Onion or shallot, diced (if I don't have either of these, garlic works in a pinch)
2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (preferably Fustini's Lavendar, Pomegranate or Asian Blackberry)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Lemon juice, no need to add to the vinaigrette because it is already on the kale, but still important

The ratio is something similar to a 1 part acid to 2 parts oil.  Dip a kale leaf in the dressing and taste to see what you think.  Usually I'll have to add more olive oil, salt and pepper to make it right.  You can make this ahead of time or right before you're ready to use it.

I add pine nuts instead of pomegranate seeds because pine nuts are easier to find.  Also more diced onions or shallots (not garlic).  If I have it, roasted butternut squash or roasted carrots are bangin' in this salad.  And of course, Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top!

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