Kale is in season in New Jersey right now and I picked up a beautiful batch of Red Russian Kale at my CSA last week. The kids wants Kale Chips but sometimes a kale salad is in order. And today was the day.
Kale is pretty trendy and with good reason. You’ve probably already heard ( for some ad nauseam) that kale is a superfood packed full of protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A, fiber and anti-cancer properties. It also has more vitamin C then any other leaf out there. Besides these benefits, kale is actually delicious.
Kale is an ancient member of the Brassica family and can sometimes be a little spicy or sweet but I think it is often slightly bitter like it’s ancestors broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi and Brussel sprouts.There are actually 7 kinds of kale grown today with the most common being of the deep green variety but other kales can be yellow-green, white, red or purple with either flat or ruffled leaves.
Today’s salad is made from Red Russian ( Ragged Jack) kale and I love it because it’s an heirloom that looks like overgrown oak leaves in color. It’s essentially a rutabaga developed for its top growth rather then it’s root and it’s semi-sweet and simply beautiful. I think it’s actually sweeter and more tender than common kale and it tastes great in Green Smoothies too!
Enough about the history and vitamins of the mighty kale, lets get on with the recipe!
First start by combining the salt and garlic in a mortar and pestle so that they are really ground together. Don’t have a mortar? Simply use a knife. Problem solved.
Next, add the garlic to a small bowl along with cheese, lemon juice and oil.
Don’t forget the red pepper flakes.
Toss it all together, let the salad sit for a few minutes and enjoy!
Fresh Kale Salad with Garlic-Lemon Pecorino Cheese Dressing
- 1 bunch Russian kale
- 1-2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus a pinch
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus adiitional for garnish
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for taste
- Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Remove kale leaves from stems and discard stems.
- Slice the kale into 3/4-inch ribbons or simply tear into bite sized pieces. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place the kale in a large bowl.
- Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic and salt into a paste then transfer to a small bowl.
- Add cheese, oil, lemon juice, pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves).
- Let the salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with additional cheese and a drizzle of oil ( if desired).