Recipe: Raw Kale Harvest Salad

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love a well-balanced salad. A great mixed green salad is nice, but to me, a salad is best with a few different elements – some crunch, something sweet, a couple different types of greens, and a dressing that brings it all together. I think most people are used to cooking kale, but treated well, you can eat kale raw, and it’s super nutritious. The trick is really letting it sit with the lemon juice for a few minutes. You want to break down the cells of the kale, and the lemon juice acts as a tenderizer.

This recipe is very adaptable – you can use a different bitter green than radicchio, or a different sweet, fruity element than pomegranate seeds. Just keep the basic integrity the same – some kale, a bitter element, a nut, a fruit, and a tangy-sweet dressing – and you’ll be golden.

We paired this salad with the 2012 Porter Creek Rose, which was included in our recent wine shipment. I think there are many options for pairings here, but any tangy, acidic, lean wine will be best. Sauvignon Blanc would be another good option.

Serves 4-6

Special Tools
Small jar (8oz or so) with tight-fitting lid

1 bunch kale – lacinato/dino kale are best, the smaller the leaves, the better
1 small head or ½ medium head radicchio
1 small pomegranate, pips separated
3-4 T pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 lemon, juiced
1 T sherry vinegar
2 tsp honey
Olive oil

Remove the stems from the kale leaves, then stack them on top of each other into manageable bunches, and slice crosswise into ribbons, about ¼” thick.

Quarter the radicchio half and cut the tough stem ends out, then slice crosswise to match the kale ribbons. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the kale ribbons, and add the lemon juice, a healthy pinch of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix well with your hands, bruising the leaves with a moderate amount of pressure. You don’t want to crush them, but you are trying to break down the fibers a little, to make the kale more tender. Set aside.

In the jar, combine a few tablespoons of olive oil, the sherry vinegar, honey, and about ½ tsp each of salt and pepper. Shake well. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings as needed.

In a serving bowl, combine the bruised kale, radicchio, pomegranate pips, and pumpkin seeds. Pour the dressing over everything, and toss well.