Around Thanksgiving time, I waxed poetic on Facebook about how amazing and wonderful kale was. This recitation came about because I signed up to prepare a kale salad for a Thanksgiving Day gathering…..and when I went to harvest said main ingredient….it was all frozen. Solid. With dew drops frozen upon the leaves, too. Despite two row covers to protect it all. The rain followed by temps in the 20s froze it all.
Nonetheless, I harvested away. Set the frozen leaves out on a towel in our old kitchen area (now an empty, unheated space awaiting deconstruction) and waited to see what would happen next. Well….to skip to it…the leaves thawed just fine overnight and looked fresh and as if they were never frozen…SOLID…to begin with. Amazing.
So. Now that we are caught up on that part. It is time for me to FINALLY share the recipe for the amazing salad. Turns out, this quick and refreshing salad was a T-day hit. It received stellar reviews, and, quite frankly, tasted outstandingly good. The greens, having been frozen, were sweet and flavorful. Crisp. Delightful.
The exact recipe that follows came from the blog Minced that I follow (a good one for those who love food and fresh ingredients). I tweaked it just a tad (my notes in italics). Try this simple recipe, folks. You will enjoy it.
Kale Salad with Bell Peppers, Cranberries, Edamame, & Farro with Orange Vinaigrette
Serves 3 as a light lunch; 6 as a side dish for a larger meal
This recipe has undergone many adaptations and I hope it will undergo many more. Whatever changes you make, be sure to keep the color. It’s what truly makes it shine.
For the orange vinaigrette:
Juice from 1 1⁄2 medium oranges (about 1⁄2 cup) (I did not have oranges, but I had tangerines instead. I think I used the juice from 3 tangerines…I didn’t measure)
1 teaspoon champagne vinegar (white wine or rice vinegar can be substituted) (I used seasoned rice vinegar because it is what I had…I didn’t really measure)
1⁄2 teaspoon granulated sugar (I did not measure this…I only added a small pinch because the tangerines, cranberries and peppers all were sweet…as well as my previously frozen kale!)
1⁄2 teaspoon salt (I ground coarse sea salt and didn’t measure)
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I didn’t measure…did more to taste)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
3 cups chopped lacinato kale (remove large stems prior to chopping) (I used a mixture of kales – Red Russian, dwarf curly, lacinato as well as some bok choi. I used a lot, actually, because I knew a lot of folks would be attending…probably close to 1.5 lbs worth. I rolled the leaves into a cigar shape and cut into ribbons)
1⁄2 cup dried farro, cooked according to package directions and drained (For the life of me, I could not find farro. No, I didn’t hit all of the stores, but I did hit nearby natural foods and gourmet shops. Instead, I cooked up some red quinoa…and LOVED it. Still would be interested to try the farro one of these days).
1 1⁄4 cups chopped bell peppers (for color, I used red, orange, & yellow peppers) (This part is a must…the colors are amazing)
1/3 cup ready-to-eat edamame soybeans (By the time I went shopping for supplies - ahem…the day before…the salad bars were closed up tight and no ready-to-eat edamame was to be found. Sigh. So…instead of this and the pepitas, I used roasted, lightly salted edamame. It provided a nice nutty taste and crunchy texture).
1⁄4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds) (as mentioned above, I did not use these)
In a medium bowl, whisk together the fresh squeezed orange (tangerine) juice, champagne (rice) vinegar, sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the extra virgin olive oil.
Add 1⁄4 cup of the dressing to a large bowl (NOTE – I did not add the dressing at all until I arrived at the party. Previous kale salads have wilted soon after addition of the dressing. I wanted the greens as fresh as possible. That said, I think this dressing is light enough (i.e. not oily) that adding the dressing at this point would be just fine. I just chose to wait). Add the kale, cooked farro (red quinoa), and bell peppers and toss to coat. Add the edamame and cranberries and toss to combine. Add more dressing if needed. Transfer to a serving platter or keep the salad in the bowl. (So, I added everything to a giant bowl and added the dressing last. I tossed lightly enough to coat. I wound up using all of the dressing because I had so many greens. The dressing and all other ingredients were simply fantastic).
Heat the pumpkin seeds in a medium skillet over medium heat. Toss occasionally and toast until golden brown. As they toast, the pumpkins seeds will swell and make a popping sound. This is a good thing; don’t be alarmed. (I did not do any of this part).
Scatter the toasted pumpkin seeds over the salad and serve immediately with any leftover dressing on the side.
This recipe came from Minced at http://www.mincedblog.com.