Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holday Kale Salad

I'm a little sorry I didn't think to share this earlier.  You see, I think I have come up with a new Thanksgiving tradition that includes this salad.  I had planned to include it in my family's Thanksgiving dinner menu, but as I started simplifying the list of dishes I was going to prepare (there's only so much that can fit on a plate and salad takes up valuable stuffing real estate), I decided to prepare this salad (along with Butternut Squash Soup) to have available for people to help themselves to for an early lunch.  The combination was healthy, yet substantial enough to tide over until the main event. 

This salad is actually a version of one of my favorites, Crunchy Kale Salad, but for a more festive and upscale touch, gorgeous, red (and seasonal) pomegranate is substituted for the dried cranberries and golden raisins.  Set against the deep green of the kale, the pomegranate seeds (or "arils," as they officially known) look like little crimson jewels and the combination really does look like "Christmas in a bowl" (and because of the cheese-factor, it pains me to use that "season in a bowl" comment, but I must).   Which, leads me to believe that it's definitely not too late to share this recipe.  I know I'll be making it plenty of more times this holiday season. 

Holiday Kale Salad
1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces *see note
kosher salt, about 1/2-1 teaspoon
1 cup pomegranate seeds **see note
1/2 cup walnut pieces or pine nuts, toasted
juice of 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
2 tablespoons olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

In the bottom of a large serving bowl, whisk together lemon juice and olive oil.  Throw kale pieces in bowl on top of dressing.  Sprinkle kale with salt and use hands to massage kale a bit to get it to start softening up.  Toss kale so that it's coated in the dressing.  Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and walnut pieces over top, season with freshly ground black pepper and additional salt, to taste.

*Note: ***Pictured above, the salad is made with baby kale leaves (what a treat to find a bag at Costco!) which were a great convenience (pre-washed! no woody stems!).  I have also seen bagged, chopped kale in the bagged salad section which could certainly substituted.  Usually, I go for the economical bunch of kale and just do the dirty work.  

**An easy way to remove the seeds from the pomegranate is to score the outside of the fruit and then break it open submerged in a big bowl of water (also helps keep your kitchen from looking like a crime scene, since that red juice can get EVERYWHERE!).  Continue to break apart the pomegranate and loosening the seeds under water.  The red juicy seeds will sink to the bottom and the white membrane will float to the top at which point, you can pour off and leave the seeds at the bottom. 

*** Finally, a couple more advantages to this kale salad is that it can both be prepared up to a couple hours ahead of time (unlike most salads which wilt into in-edibility upon contact with dressing) and the leftovers are still good to eat the next day.  

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