Saturday, June 8, 2013

Kale, again? Again!

Sometime last Fall, I got on the Kale boat. I was already a fan of sautéed kale, and had figured out a few tricks like ripping the leaves off the stems with hands to get rid of the tough stems quickly and easily, and heating the pan super hot with olive oil before dropping in the kale, for a much better flavor. Then, I discovered massaged kale salad. I wrote about it. I made it. A lot. Kale was available all winter long at the winter farmers’ markets. I perfected a massaged kale salad formula: kale, something sweet (roasted sweet potatoes, dried cranberries…), something soft (avocado, feta cheese…), and something crunchy (toasted nuts or seeds). But after a while, Kale was the only green I was stocking regularly, besides lettuce and spinach. I am generally someone who likes variety. And then I hit a low: a massaged kale salad with an unfortunate combination of granny smith apples, feta, avocado, and toasted almonds. Blah. Blah is even worse than unbelievably disgusting. At least, a nice amount of time later, I can laugh at unbelievably disgusting. So when I saw more piles of kale at the first Spring farmers’ market last weekend, I was not so thrilled. And the one bunch of kale I bought anyway was the last farmers’ market fare left in the bottom of the fridge at the end of the week. But then, I did it: a new and fantastically delicious combo featuring massaged kale. The only thing in the recipe that is local and seasonal is the kale, but part of the point of this blog is to feature local and seasonal in combination with other things to make our lives easy and our palates happy. Yum. Yum is way better than blah or unbelievably disgusting.

Massaged Kale Salad with Watermelon and Feta
1 bunch kale
1 tsp. salt
2 cups chopped watermelon
½ cup crumbled feta
1/8 cup sherry vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Rip the kale leaves from the hard middle stems. Wash and dry in a salad spinner. Shake 1 tsp. salt over the kale. Massage the kale, in a kind of kneading motion, getting the salt all over it and mashing the leaves together. Let sit for 10-20 minutes. Toss with watermelon, feta, and vinaigrette.
Sherry vinaigrette
(Makes enough for about 4 salads)
½ cup olive oil
½ cup sherry vinegar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground pepper
½ tsp. mustard
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

Put all the ingredients together in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake hard. You can serve this immediately, but it’s better after it has sat for about a day. Store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving (the olive oil hardens in the cold). Shake hard before each serving.