Saturday, May 3, 2014

Chopped Kale Salad with Pecorino, Raisins, and Walnuts

Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food blogs (other than NPC of course).  Deb is amazing.  She takes amazing pictures and has great recipes that I can relate to and really enjoy.  Not to mention, she does all of this amazing work in a tiny little NYC kitchen.  I can only hope that NPC will be where Smitten Kitchen is one day! 

While scrolling through recipes for Easter, I came across a kale salad that just looked delightful!  I needed at least one dish that was “atypical” for Easter and was sure to please since I was hosting for about 12 other people that day.  After all, my NPC reputation is always on the line!  This chopped kale salad turned out to be a hit…and I even earned a “fancy” label J  Go figure!  I’ll take that any day!

Chopped Kale Salad with Pecorino, Raisins, and Walnuts

½ c walnut pieces
¼ c golden raisins
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp water
¼ c panko
1 tiny clove garlic, minced or pressed
kosher salt
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch Tuscan kale
2 oz pecorino (ground in food processor)
½ lemon, juiced
black pepper

Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over low-medium heat, tossing occasionally.  Let cool.  In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water, and raisins for 5 mins, until plump and soft.  Set aside in liquid.

Toast breadcrumbs and garlic in a skillet together over low-medium heat with a pinch of salt until golden.  Set aside. 

Note: Garlic will be fragrant once it is properly toasted.  However, garlic burns quickly and turns rancid.  Be sure to stir constantly to prevent burning.

Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs.  Add kale to bowl of food processor and pulse a few times until chopped.

Modification: Chopping the kale is one of the changes I made to the original recipe.  I decided to chop in a food processor because it literally takes a few seconds to do.  Also, since kale is so bitter, it helps to get small bites of kale with the other salad ingredients for an amazing combo that isn’t overpowering.

Put kale in a large bowl.  Add pecorino, walnuts and raisins.  Add olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale is coated.  Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper, and leftover vinegar mixture from raisins.  (I used all of the vinegar mixture.)  Let sit for at least 10 mins before serving.  Top with breadcrumbs just before serving.

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