Kale in the Raw

Over the past year we have developed a truly lovely weekend ritual with friends we met at the playground. Every Sunday we are able to, we take turns hosting the other family for playtime and dinner. All of our children love frolicking about together, and the Mummies and Daddies love chitchatting and a night off from cooking/cleaning.

As I was prepping our turn for dinner while the girls were napping, I realized that my menu planning had been done too early that morning. In my drowsy state, I had concocted a meal with ingredients that I didn’t actually have. Kale as it turns out, though it shares its hue with baby broccoli, is most certainly not baby broccoli.

I’ve already written about my affinity for kale, but I’ll be honest – I’m a one trick pony with this leafy green having honed my kale chip skills quite sharply. They’re pretty tasty. But since we were serving linguini alla carbonara (it’s not just for winter anymore) it made more sense to have a fresh veggie or salad rather than a salty, slightly warm chip … even if they are pretty tasty.

As I was patting dry the curlicue, verdant leaves riddled with purple veins, I tapped away on Google hoping to save the dinner by finding a raw application of kale. My plan b included serving personal ramekins of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies.

Success! Tom Philpott wrote a fantastic and engaging piece about using raw kale in a salad – explaining among other things, possible origins and why it needs to be chopped as fine as “confetti” as he so vividly puts it. I LOVE getting the back-story and understanding mechanics … center that around food and I’m done *swoon*. He also included a truly delicious Ceaser-salad-style recipe. Since I was lacking every critical ingredient other than kale, I employed his suggested technique and threw together a hearty yet surprisingly light salad. And no, it wasn’t bitter it was bright!

Raw Kale Salad

Wash and pat dry small bundle of kale (we used purple kale), cutting out ribs. Roll leaves tightly and chop chiffonade style, place in large bowl. Pour over the kale a simple vinaigrette (I used what was left in the bottle of my red wine vinegar, and threw in a little less olive oil, whisked in a dash of sugar and a bit more than that dried basil). Probably about 1 cup worth of dressing. Toss and let sit for a good long while to macerate (ours sat for 2 hours covered in fridge). Add chopped celery (for crunch and color) and halved grape tomatoes (for sweetness and color), toss and serve.

Tom was right, it keeps well … behold leftovers the next day:

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