Kale, yeah

Here’s my very rough take on the kale salad on the menu at the James Schrader’s Palace Café on Cherry Street. That salad benefits from a scattering of pine nuts, which I never stock, a pound of pine nuts equalling the price of a great syrah. Add them at your leisure.

Lacinato kale (cavalo nero, in Italian) differs in texture from the curly leaf kales, but still benefits from a long marinade if you’re going to eat it raw. I prefer it raw, in a salad, to cooked in a soup, as it doesn’t wilt and lose its tooth and mineral-rich flavor.

Kale salad

1 bunch lacinato kale
Olive oil
1 lemon, juiced (look for a Meyer)
Parmigiano-Reggiano, or any other aged grating cheese (grana)
Salt and pepper

Roll the bunch of kale into a tight bundle and slice it crosswise into half-inch strips, including the stems. You can tear the leaves off the stems if you prefer a less crunchy salad. I like the stems. Not only does the crunch provide good contrast to the softer leaf, it also has a remarkably sweet flavor that would be a pity to throw out.

Toss the sliced kale into a colander and wash. Leave the water on the leaves and put them into a mixing bowl. (The water will help soften the leaf during your marinating time.) Drizzle fairly liberally with olive oil and lemon juice. Don’t drown it, but don’t chintz, either. Let the kale sit in the vinaigrette overnight or at least several hours, preferably at room temp, tossing occasionally. (It’s just oil and lemon and salad, nothing to rot, so you can leave it out on the counter, wrapped in plastic.)

Prior to serving, season with salt and pepper. Toss again. Grate a couple of tablespoons of the cheese over the salad, or more to taste. Toss and serve. Ideally with a grilled pork chop and a pan-fried potato cake.

And that stellar bottle of syrah you bought in lieu of pine nuts.

Check out more about kale in my latest version of Argentfork, now up at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and locally (Tulsa, meaning) at edit in Center 1.

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