Ingredient mysteries are part of the fun of co-posting with a friend from another country. Earlier this year Giovanna asked, “What is whole wheat flour?” We discovered that in Italy it’s called ‘farina integrale’. And believe me, when we were in Italy, we spent plenty of time in confusion – especially at the grocery store. One of my favorite posts from the trip tells, err shows, all about it.
Giovanna and I agreed that we should choose an ingredient and offer our own take on it, so I suggested lacinato kale. Here was her response:
It is a beautiful idea, I love lacinato kale! I thought it was typical from Tuscany and not well known outside this region …. When I read “lacinato kale” I had to see a dictionary – I discovered a new word! Wow … We call it cavolo nero!
It turns out that this kale answers to many names. Check out this list from Wikipedia: lacinato kale, Tuscan kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, Dinosaur kale, cavolo nero, black kale, flat back cabbage, palm tree kale, or black Tuscan palm. This green wonder is not just diverse in name; it’s utterly delicious and endlessly versatile. Giovanna decided to share her recipe for Kale Bruschetta (Yum! Can’t wait to try it.) And I chose a salad.
Oh heavenly salad! I’m making it again tonight, the third time this week.
I have to thank Kathryn of CookieAndKate for a technique that is KEY to the flavor of this salad – a salt massage. The other keys: leave the stems, slice in the thinnest ribbons you can (chiffonade if you’re fancy :), a warm tangy, savory, sweet vinaigrette – reminiscent of the warm bacon vinaigrette that you often see on spinach salads.
I realize that many recipes involving kale advise to remove and discard the stems. Perhaps this is a case of cutting the ends off of the roast? I love the stems; they add crunch and depth of flavor. Remove them if you must, but please try the recipe once with them intact. I predict you’ll be converted.
Even though I’ve offered amounts for the warm vinaigrette, it’s a to-taste kind of recipe. Adjust any of the elements to suit your taste. The combination of raisins and garlic may seem odd, but just wait until you taste it! Divine.
- 1 bunch lacinato kale (see post for aliases), sliced to very thin ribbons
- fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- juice and zest of half a lemon
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
- several shavings of good quality Parmesan cheese
Place kale ribbons into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of fine sea salt. Massage salt into kale by squeezing it in fistfuls and then rubbing it between your fingers, until it turns a darker shade of green and has a softer texture - just a minute or two. Set aside.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Cook and stir until garlic and fragrant and softened, but not browned. Adjust the heat as necessary.
Add golden raisins to garlic in skillet; cook and stir until raisins have plumped and softened, about 15 seconds. Add lemon juice and zest, stir to combine.
Remove from heat; add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Drizzle warm vinaigrette evenly over kale; toss to coat.
Sprinkle salad with toasted almonds and Parmesan cheese shavings. Serve.
Serves 4 as a side dish.