Thursday, February 9, 2012

What To Do With All That Kale

I made a version of this salad last night -- pretty good.  The kale becomes macerated by the salt and vinegar (I used rice vinegar instead of lemon juice), thereby bringing out its hearty flavor.  I would let the salad sit for a minimum of thirty minutes prior to serving.  Also, if you subtract the pancetta (as I did), adding toasted sunflower seeds is a nice touch.

Survival-of-the-Fittest Kale Salad
from The Foodzie Blog by Sean

There’s a cafe a couple blocks from the Foodzie headquarters that has a certain kale salad on their menu that has won the hearts of everyone in the office. It’s hearty and crunchy, with a perfect balance of salty and sour in the dressing. It manages to feel at once healthy and decadent, and totally satisfying.

Whenever someone pipes up asking what’s for lunch, this salad invariably is the first mention. Unfortunately, everyone else in the neighborhood apparently has the same instinct. As a result, the lines at the cafe can get absurdly long. To make matters worse, as we discovered one lunchtime, they don’t allow individuals to order more than four things at a time. We’ve had to send backup.
Competition for the salad was too strong, but we couldn’t live without it, so we decided to take an evolutionary approach: We adapted. Or, rather, we adapted their salad. And now we get to enjoy it in just a few minutes, rather than standing in line for more than half an hour (not joking), and for pennies on the dollar. It’s become a fixture in the Foodzie kitchen.
Foodzie’s Favorite Kale Salad
Massaging the greens helps to tenderize the 
kale, which otherwise can be a little tough; it also allows the dressing to penetrate into the greens.

2 bunches of dino (lacinato) kale
1 small head radicchio
1/2 c. shaved manchego
3 – 1/4″ slices of pancetta, cut into 1/4″ cubes
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp of olive oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Glaze (see below)
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse, dry and slice kale and radicchio into approximately 1″ squares. Fry the pancetta until crispy; remove from heat and remove pancetta cubes to a paper towel to cool. Add pancetta and rendered fat to greens. Add cheese, olive oil, balsamic, and lemon. Massage for two minutes, using your hands to gently crush the greens. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Balsamic Glaze
We have a bottle of balsamic glaze in the Foodzie kitchen. (Actually, we have a bottle of EVERYTHING in the Foodzie kitchen.) But you can easily make this with inexpensive, store-bought balsamic vinegar. Just pour some balsamic in a small saucepan, put over medium heat, bring to a simmer and reduce to about half. Allow to cool, and use to flavor salad dressings, or drizzle over roasted meats, hard cheeses or even macerated strawberries.

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