Saturday, 3 December 2011

Leaf Me Alone!

Insalata Invernale di Cavolo a Foglia, Crespini, Noce e Condimento al Limone
Winter Kale Salad with Chick Peas, Barberries, Walnuts and a Lemon Dressing

Where you, my American friends, may be familiar with kale as a salad, this is definitely a very unusual thought for a European! But I have been seeing and hearing more and more about salad dishes prepared with kale, that I decided I needed to find out what all the fuss is about...

Please be warned- you may well see another couple of kale and cabbage recipes from me this week- this isn't the kind of thing that is sold "loose leaf" so to speak, over here. So I carried home a huge head of kale and one of a glorious red cabbage, which you will see in my next blog entry... and got to work on my first, but definitely not last kale salad!

The way I prepared the kale was very simple- I washed it, shook it dry, cut it into very fine strips and then sprinkled it with salt and sugar and kneaded it gently. This broke up the  kales tough structure a little, brought out the good flavors, neutralized the bad ones- and added a welcome hint of sweetness. That was all I did to it! I had a taste, liked it and didn't mess around with it. Now that's a good piece of advice to you right there!

Next I added the chick peas, which I did indeed take straight from the can. The other ingredient I used was barberries, which I soaked in hot water for a few minutes- just to make them a little softer and tastier. In the meantime I prepared a dressing. I made it out of lemon juice, olive oil, honey, ground cumin, ground caraway and little nutmeg.

I added the cranberries and a handful of lightly toasted walnuts, along with a few strands of lemon zest for a bit of additional "zing!". I then poured on the dressing- not too much mind! I hate it when salads are overdressed! The finishing touch were some roasted paprika flakes for a bit of gentle fire- and the first of my 2 salads for this evening was ready!

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