Mom can make anything fun and that includes salad.
She enjoys appreciates a nice IPA and she can cook up a mean lobster bisque or seafood chowder (we’re from Maine so perhaps that’s to be expected), but what I’ve always loved most is her ability to turn the mundane into the magical – salad is no exception.
She has two tricks for taking a boring salad and transforming it into a meal that can stand alone.
- She turns a bland salad-scape into an aesthetically stimulating culinary experience using texture and color
- She dresses it up with homemade salad dressings
Here is her take on Kale Salad with a quick Lemon & Mustard dressing:
This recipe makes about 6 servings.
Here’s what you will need:
- 1 cup of Walnuts (see “toast your walnuts” below for prepping instructions)
- 1 cup of dried cranberries
- 1 large bunch of curly kale (see “Massage the kale” below for prepping tips).
- 1 cup of coarsely cut Parmigiano Reggiano
Take the following two steps - Toast your walnuts and Massage your kale - and then toss everything together in a salad bowl.
Toast your walnuts – preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts one layer deep on a baking pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Let cool before adding to salad.
Massage your kale – my mom has an advantage here (she used to be a massage therapist), but even if you aren’t formally trained it should take you just 2 to 3 minutes. Remove kale leaves from the thick stem down the middle. Cut leaves into thin strips. Massage (literally just rub the kale). You’re looking for the kale to turn from a light color to a dark color. The process of massaging breaks down the cells so that they are more easily digestible.
My mom picks her kale straight out of the garden. But if you need to know the most cost efficient places in Brooklyn to purchase your kale, check out this article by the Brownstoner: Six Brooklyn Destination Grocery Stores: Which Has the Best Prices?
Personally, I like to pick up kale from the Grand Army green market on Saturdays. Perhaps not the most cost effective, but I like to think of it as a second best to walking out to the garden and picking it yourself.
Lemon & Mustard Dressing
This recipe makes about 6 servings. The original recipe was modified by Jennifer Segal from a recipe inspired by Bon Appetit magazine.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1/4 cup of lemon juice – that’s the juice of about 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil (the higher the quality the better)
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- 2 finely chopped shallots
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and serve over Kale salad.
One last take away – increase the visual appeal…
I’m not one to get too fancy – I’ve eaten my fair share of meals straight out of the pot they were cooked in – but you’ve put a lot of love into this kale salad! My mom usually serves it up in a beautiful wooden salad bowl - never a bad thing to have on hand if you’re going to be eating salad frequently).
Hope you enjoy!If you decide to give it a try, let me know what you think in the comments below!