Fear not. I have a salad that you might like to try, oh you-with-too-much-kale. It is eaten quite greedily and regularly by all members of the household, but my daughter in particular is terribly fond of it. (Imagine that: a child who asks for a raw kale salad in her lunchbox!) And, bonus: it’s a fun salad for a child to (help) make, too.
ZESTY RAW KALE SALAD (vegan as noted, see variations below)
- Take a good handful of kale leaves: we prefer lacinato (also known as black (cavolo nero) or dinosaur kale), but red, white or Russian kale works too; I haven’t tried it with a Vates (scotch, crinkled) but if that’s what you’ve got then by all means use it. Wash then stack the leaves (including stems if they’re not too tough) together like a stack of cards, and, if they are really wide, roll them together. Julienne by cutting them the short way into fine match-sized strips; if the strips are over an inch long, cut them again. Place the kale in a large, good-looking bowl.
- Toast in a dry skillet: a good cup or two of fresh breadcrumbs. The crumbs should be toothsome and not on their way back to being flour, so…avoid the food processor and mince the bread with a knife. Let cool.
- Pound to a paste in a mortar: as much garlic as you can tolerate (for us, five big cloves) with sea salt and pepper to taste. This is a fine task for a small person. Add the juice and zest of half a lemon, or more, and a good glug of olive oil; mix well.
- Pour the garlic mix over the kale and toss well, then toss in the breadcrumbs. Adjust seasonings, lemon, to taste. This salad should be good and garlicky, enough to scare off any vampire!
It gets better as time progresses, too, so…you can macerate the chopped kale with the garlic dressing a day ahead of time and then toss in the toasted breadcrumbs right before serving.
Variations: Toast sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts right along with the breadcrumbs. Add red pepper flakes to the garlic mix. Add as much hard grated cheese as you would like; pecorino has a nice salty bite to it. Feta is great crumbled on top, too. If it’s really too zesty for you, then tame your serving with a tablespoon or two of plain yogurt or sour cream and mix well.