We've become a kale obsessed nation in the last few years, but I do hope kale isn't one of these trends that rise, peak -- which it already has -- ebb and then be forgotten. Because kale is really great: tasty (when prepared right), nutritious, and it keeps fresh for a long while (much unlike spinach that wilts very quickly).
This salad combines my two favorite kale preparations: raw, very thinly sliced (see technique below), and baked to a crisp (or a chip). These two kale variations, combined with dried currant’s sweetness, delicate herbs’ freshness and the miso saltiness make this a salad that explodes with flavor.
Which kale to choose? I like them all, but the flat leaf kale such as lacinato or Tuscan kale is much easier to chop than the curly variety.
For the salad:
- 20 leaves of kale, stems removed
- Olive oil for brushing
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups thinly sliced stemmed kale (*directions below)
- 1 cup finely chopped parsley, cilantro or dill, or combination of tender fresh herbs
- 3 tablespoons dried currants
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
- optional: 1-2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon mild yellow miso paste
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mirin
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Heat oven to 250°F (120°C)
Brush kale leaves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and arrange in single layer in 2-3 baking sheets
Bake until kale is crisp, 15-25 minutes
Whisk the dressing ingredients.
Mix the chopped kale, currants, Parmesan and parsley (and toasted pine nuts if using) with the dressing
Add the crisp kale, crushed to bitesize pieces, right before serving
* Kale is rather tough and chewy, but this preparation renders it tender and almost delicate: Break or cut off the tough stems. Wash thoroughly and dry well in a salad spinner or a towel. Roll a bunch of leaves tightly, jelly-roll fashion. Slice crosswise as thinly as you can, chiffonade style and separate into strips.
Enjoy, Dr. Ayala