Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Peachy Raw-Kale Salad

I'm beginning to think there are three culinary-types in this world: 

1.) Those who see another kale recipe and are genuinely delighted to try it. They "love" kale! (I'm totally jealous, btw.)

2.) Those of us who buy kale every other week or so because we know it's good for us. We don't not like it...

3.) "What's kale?"

I found this recipe last week, and was intrigued... Another way to use that kale in the fridge, and perhaps I'll even LOVE it.

Watch the video on the Food Network site -- Aarti says the kale will start to smell like bananas while you massage it (yes, massage it). And it's true! Weird, huh? This pampering serves to break down the fibers & cellulose in the kale, so you can actually enjoy it raw.

I changed up the original recipe quite a bit. Aside from the fact that I cannot leave well enough alone, I can't dice a mango to save my life. I don't know why. Maybe because I did not grow up eating them. Joshua manages the mango consumption in this house. I actually did have one on hand from last week's Green Grocer box, but I think it was too ripe to dice. I tried -- I really did -- to do that cool slice-it-in-the-skin-and-turn-it-inside-out thing, but it pretty much turned to mush. I put in in a bowl to save for my oldest daughter, who will be delighted, but it was obviously not meant for my version of Aarti's Massaged Kale Salad.

Now, peaches I can handle. And when I think peaches, I think pecans. Is that just the Texan in me? Instead of mango, I peeled and diced two small, still firm but slightly soft, white peaches, and nixed the pepitas (pumpkin seeds) in favor of chopped and pan-toasted pecans. After I dressed the salad and tossed it together, it was still missing something... so I added black beans. And red pepper flakes. (TEXAN!)

I am especially happy with this recipe because it involves very little cooking (just a quick pan-toast on the pecans) and the prep is far from arduous. Perfect summertime/swim-team-practice-every-night-at-5 fare. Whether or not you opt for the added spice is up to you, but I really think you ought to give this kale recipe a try. No matter which culinary type you are!

1 bunch kale (I used purple, but any kind will do)
1 organic lemon
kosher salt
1/4 c. olive oil plus more for drizzling
2 tsp. honey (maple syrup or agave nectar would also be good, I think)
freshly ground black pepper
2 small firm/slightly soft white peaches
1/2 c. drained & rinsed black beans
1/4 c. chopped & toasted pecans
red pepper flakes (optional)

Remove stems from kale leaves. Stack the leaves and roll them, then slice into 1/8" ribbons and place in a serving bowl. Juice half of the lemon over the kale, careful not to let any seeds sneak in. Drizzle in 1-2 tsp. olive oil, and add a generous pinch of kosher salt. Massage with both hands for 1-2 minutes, until kale is wilted. Remove any tough stems you come across as you pamper your kale ;).

In a small mixing bowl, juice the rest of the lemon and add honey/syrup. Grind in as much pepper as you like (I used about 1/2 tsp.) Whisk constantly as you slowly pour in the 1/4 c. olive oil. Taste and add more pepper if you like.

Pour the dressing over the kale. Add in peaches, black beans and pecans. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Top each serving with a pinch of salt and a few red pepper flakes, if using.

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