Sunday, May 18, 2014

Asian Kale Salad with Strawberries and Apricots

Plated Kale Fruit Salad
Fiesta of Color and Flavor

Recipe by Robin

Kale is trending, plus we get some every week in our CSA share lately. I must confess it is not our favorite vegetable. We’ve tried all the usual recipes: ginger garlic kale, Portuguese soup, bean & bacon soup, Italian braised kale, and massaged kale salad.  We’ve created some more unusual dishes: shrimp braised with kale and carrot, mushroom, and kale stir-fry. With kale’s popularity these days, I asked myself, what have I never seen done with it? Kale with fruit came immediately to mind, possibly inspired by early ripe apricots on my counter. And so, I was off to explore the non-intuitive combination of tough, cruciferous kale with sweet, squishy fruits.

Semicircle of leftover salad in wooden bowl
Store Leftovers Separately from Dressing
To mellow the bold taste and texture of the kale so it would combine with the fruits, I massaged it with lemon and salt, then combined it with delicately flavored butter lettuce. Next, I added snow peas to bridge the flavor gap between these two greens.  Then a sweet, Asian style dressing with both regular sesame oil and toasted sesame oil to tie in the fruits. A crunch-appeal topping of toasted almonds completed the creation. The result: a refreshing and unusual salad that add color to summer potlucks.

Closeup of Salad on Plate
Spring into Summer Salad
For best results, allow time to thoroughly chill all of the ingredients before serving. Feel free to experiment with other fruits and lettuces as they come into season. Memorial Day approaches…happy countdown to summer!

Basket of Dark Kale, green lettuce, orange apricots and red strawberries
Bright Ingredients
Asian Kale Salad with Strawberries and Apricots
serves 6 – 8

6 oz. snow peas
1 large bunch Lacinato kale
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. salt
4½ cups torn, lightly packed butter lettuce
1¼ cups thinly sliced apricots (3 large)
1¼ cups thinly sliced strawberries (5 – 6 large)
¼ cup sliced almonds
1 tbsp. peeled, coarsely chopped ginger
1 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 tbsp. water
4 tsp. tamari
2 tbsp. sesame oil
½ tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. plum sauce
2 tsp. honey

Remove strings and stem ends from snow peas. Steam for 2 minutes, douse with cool water, and chill in refrigerator.

Strip kale from stems and tear into bite-sized pieces.  Place in bowl and add lemon juice and salt. Massage kale until it’s reduced in volume by 1/3 to ½, about 2 minutes. Be sure that all pieces of kale look equally wilted. Chill.

Chill lettuce (torn into bite-sized pieces), apricot slices, and strawberry slices in individual containers.

Toast sliced almonds over medium heat in small skillet, stirring very frequently until lightly browned. Remove immediately from skillet and chill.

Make dressing by adding to immersion blender: coarsely chopped ginger, rice vinegar, water, tamari, sesame oil, toasted sesame oil, plum sauce, and honey. Blend until ginger pieces are well pulverized (you may remove any stubborn pieces!) Decant into serving dish and chill.

When all salad ingredients are chilled, combine kale and butter lettuce in large salad bowl. Kale leaves will tend to stick together, so separate them so that they are well-mixed with the butter lettuce.

Place snow peas around the edge of the bowl. Distribute apricots and strawberries in center of bowl. Top with toasted almonds.

Serve with the dressing on the side. Store leftover salad and dressing separately.

Plate of undressed salad
Before Dressing

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