Kale Salad

We've had next to nil kale in the house for the last year but in the last two days we've gone through three bunches. This latest obsession is a result of the visiting cooks at the Pt. Reyes Farmers' Market. Yesterday the cook was Zen chef Edward Espe Brown of the Tassajara bread and cookbooks and How To Cook Your Life movie. He made a killer kale salad.

Ed Brown is irreverent and gets off track a lot, which adds to his charm. And he seems to make up what he's doing as he goes along. I love that. Nothing was measured, he tasted with his fingers, put whatever the audience didn't finish on the tasting plates back into the bowl and never once missed a beat.

And he used his hands to mix everything. "Hands are meant to be handy," he instructed.

After making the salad twice now my hands are, as he promised, "happy."

Ed Brown's Kale Salad

1 Bunch Kale
Balsamic Vinegar
Pepper Flakes

Optional -
Red Pepper
Pumpkin Seeds
Aged Smoked Gouda

Leaving the long vein in the leaves slice the kale width wise to thin ribbons of confetti and salt liberally. With both hands squeeze the salt into the kale, mixing and squeezing for several minutes until it's juicy and bright green. Ed calls this, "hand frying."

Pour in honey, approximately two to three tablespoons. Add balsamic vinegar generously. Mix again with your hands. The kale holds up admirably to the handling. Taste and increase amounts as desired.

Mince garlic and ginger and be irreverent with the amount, adding more than you believe necessary. Continue hand mixing and tasting, also adding chili flakes.

The juice of one or two lemons can be the finish. The salad is delicious with not another ingredient. But Ed Brown went on, dicing an apple he'd picked from his yard. He broadcast pumpkin seeds into the salad and the square confetti of a red pepper. He remembered a wedge of aged Gouda hidden in a brown bag and tossed some of it in too. All delicious.

I replaced the chile flakes with a fresh jalapeno and had pan roasted walnuts and a pear for the optional ingredients. I left the cheese and red pepper out. And the salad was just as good as Ed's.

I can't believe my Grandparent's only fed the kale to the chickens.

(Added Note: My Aunt sent word after reading this that chickens actually ate a different kind of kale. It was a field kale she wrote, strong and tough. My Grandparents weren't missing out after all.)


Army Hippie Chick said...

That sounds absolutely wonderful.

I have to tell you, I really love your blog. I have been reading it the past few days and the more photos I see and the more of your entries I read, the more I want... more!

I wish I could put into words what it is that your blog invokes in me whenever I visit. It's cozy, comfortable, simple, yet complex-- like a fine cheese or wine. If I break it down "Barney style," I guess I'm trying to say that it just feels good. Like that old blanket my 9 year old son still holds onto for comfort...

Green Bean said...

Interesting. I've always thought of kale as something that must be cooked. I'll have to try this.

Kelly said...

we did kale and pumpkin and feta pizza last night- twas very goo. Shall give this recipe a whilr! and Im with army hippie chick - just love your blog!

Donna said...

OK. Kale has definitely not been a hit with my family, but this sounds too good not to try.

Loved your last sentence. Your writing is exquisite.

Kale for Sale said...

Army Hippie Chick - That is the best compliment ever - like an old blanket. I love it. Really. Thank you. I hope you like the kale salad even half as much.

Green Bean - It's funny because the kale kind of gets cooked with the salt and squeezing action. I don't understand how but it works.

Kelly - The pizza sounds delicious - the pumpkin and kale. Yes. And thank you.

Donna - The guy here hasn't been that wild about kale either but he's matching my appetite for this salad. Good luck and thank you.

Melinda said...

Wow - I am intrigued - sounds great! I also thought kale was for cooking. Sounds like a great winter salad!

Jenn said...

my lacinato and red winter kale are doing great - I used a couple big handful size bouquets in my soup last night - chiffonaded with scissors - yums!

Kale for Sale said...

Melinda - It's so good to hear from you here. You must be settling in nicely. I hope you try the salad just because it's easy and it make you feel like Popeye eating all those good greens.

Jenn - It's good to hear from you too. I read your soup recipe and salivated. I never used to put greens in soups and now its' my favorite thing. But here's the confession -- I've never put kale in a soup. This weekend I'm doing it. Thank you for the inspiration.

Chile said...

I'm going to pass this idea along to our CSA chef who does cooking demos. We're coming up on greens season and new members are always overwhelmed by the quantity of winter greens in their shares. Thanks for posting about it!

Kale for Sale said...

Chile - You're welcome. I talked to the only farmer that had kale at that market the day after the demonstration and he said he sold out of it as soon as the demo had finished. The demos seem to really work. At least for me ... and that kale farmer. I'd love to know if you use the recipe and if it's a success. Don't tell me if it bombs though. I'd feel too responsible.

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Hey there Kale for Sale, Here I am commenting on a blog posting from nearly a year ago. I was "hand frying" kale today in remembrance of a class I took with Ed, and I couldn't remember the other ingredients.

You saved me and my dinner tonight on our little Maine island with organic Maine kale.


Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green island