Saturday, October 11, 2014

Kale Salad with Apple, Walnuts and Pecorino

There's some strangeness in my life right now.

Today I am aware of my age. Today I have a curfew, and three different adults who are concerned about my ability to navigate a gridded city. I have a large crack on the underside of my big toe, and the internet, and a bunch of kale.

I've decided to focus on the kale. One step at a time, right?

Step 1: assemble ingredients. Important players include a bunch of kale, an apple, walnuts and Pecorino Romano cheese

Step 2: chop stuff. Apples get sliced, pecorino gets grated, walnuts get chopped. Shred the kale as finely as you can-I like mine about the size of confetti. KALEFETTI!

I toasted the walnuts because I was feeling fancy.

Step 3: dressing and assembly!

I ate my dinner straight from the salad bowl, with my feet up and a Reed's original ginger brew. Never apologize! Sometimes plates are unnecessary. Sometimes all you can do is make a salad, find your balance, and go to sleep in a strange city. Welcome back, world.

Kale Salad with Apples, Pecorino and Walnuts
(most likely adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Orangette

I got the  idea for this salad last Thanksgiving, but I've messed around with it a lot. When I went looking for an original recipe, I drew a blank, but I did find a similar salad courtesy of Smitten Kitchen. The dressing I use is stolen directly from Orangette, and is delicious on everything.

Finally, the most astute of my nonexistent readers may notice that in the photos above, my cheese is decidedly not grated. That's because I currently don't have a cheese grater, and had to make do with a vegetable peeler. If you do have a cheese grater, the whole salad get coated in a thin layer of cheese... way better :D

1 bunch of kale (I went with curly, but any variety would probably be good)
1 apple, cored and cut into chunks
1/4 cup walnuts
1-2 oz pecorino romano cheese, finely grated

1 Tbsp dijon mustard
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
good pinch of salt
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Prep the kale: first you need to separate and discard the stem/rib section, which I do by folding each leaf along the rib and then cutting alongside it. Anyway you choose, don't be too worried about leaving some leaves behind. To make kalefetti, stack a couple leaves, then roll them up and slice crosswise. This gets pretty imprecise with curly kale, so I focus on slicing thinly rather than rolling neatly.

Toast walnuts: put a frying pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the walnuts and cook, stirring frequently, until the walnuts start to brown and smell toasty.

Make dressing: whisk the mustard, vinegar and salt together in a small bowl. Add the olive oil a little bit at a time, whisking consistently to keep the dressing emulsified.

Toss the salad: put the kale, walnuts and apple in a bowl. Toss with about half the dressing, then add pecorino and toss again. At this point you might want to add more dressing depending on your taste- I ended up using about 3/4 of what I made.

One final note: unlike most salads, this was still awesome and crunchy the next day. Kalefetti one, other lettuce zero.

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