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Cuisine

Kale salad great summer menu addition

8/7/14 | By Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

My Assateague permit just expired and I just may have to get it renewed.

There’s something fantastic about a drive-on bonfire, dinner, the roar of the ocean and the ghost crabs. The squeals and squeaks of the children abound as they finally find the translucent little white beasts who in their retreat turn and make chase of their own.

Instead, I sit at home and grab a bowl of kale salad, a new addition to my arsenal. Introduced to me by my sister-in-law, it is sweet, tart, crunchy, soft and just about everything in between. I was admittedly hesitant to try it; after all, how good could raw kale be?

Quickly blanched in some salted water, the kale is cooled and then tossed with myriad fruits and vegetables and becomes a powerhouse; a high-anit-oxidant snack and side dish. Perfect for the beach and the pool, this salad is fantastic. Paired with a Dream Machine IPL (yes, lager) from Rita’s, it’s a match made in heaven.

Now, for those of you in the know, you understand the impact of this statement. I’m not a vegetable lover. I like fruit to some degree, and greens are decent, but I am a carnivore. We are all wired differently and some of you may be shocked to hear that, truth be told, I could do without vegetables forever. But, I understand their importance and try my best to incorporate them into the daily feed.

There have been numerous studies on the complexities of the human digestive system, and I figure that I would be a great addition to such a study. When I try to be good and eat a small amount of grilled chicken on a salad, my stomach sounds like a rusty washing machine for two hours. Try as I might, my body doesn’t like it.   Add to this the notion that our modern food system is adapting our bodies to crave and savor high-sugar, high-fat foods, it becomes evident why so many people are on statins in 2013.  

Of course, I understand that the transformation from the carnivorous state of a lion to the refined tastes of the lamb takes an adjustment period; something that I was more willing to go through in youth. But, as I age I come to realize the meaning of the term “comfort food;” hearty meats and high-starch sides. What could be better?

With this meaningless diatribe spelled out for the world to see, I must now backtrack and tell you how amazing this simple salad is. I could live off of this stuff (of course, I would beg for a steak at least once a week if the kale salad gods sentenced me to a life of culinary solitude), but you get the idea.

Kale, a dark green that is chock full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, is something that I’ve written about many times; but in my world, it has always been cooked.  This time around, I implore you to try the kale salad. It is a fantastic addition to any summer menu and a powerful antidote for the woes of the modern food system.  

If you tire of the same-old coleslaw, macaroni salad and potato salad, this light and flavorful salad could just be your ticket to a more refreshed table. And sometimes, that table may be on the back bumper of the Jeep at Assateague. Given my druthers, I know that I would eat better if things tasted a bit more like grilled chicken or Chateaubriand, but this salad changes all of that. It is light while being hearty. It is fresh and refreshing at the same time. And it truly does make a carnivore want to eat like a lamb.

Kale Salad

Makes about 2 quarts

1 large bunch fresh kale

1/2 c. sunflower Seeds

1/4 head green cabbage

1/2 c. craisins

1/2 c. dried cherries

1/2 c. fresh blueberries

1/2 c. finely shredded carrots

1/2 each red onion, fine julienne

1/2 c. walnuts

Pomegranate vinaigrette, as needed (recipe follows)

• Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; have an ice bath ready.

• Pick the kale, reserving all leaves and some of the upper stems.

• Blanch the kale for only 5-10 seconds and then quickly plunge into the ice bath.

• Drain and pat dry.

• Finely shred the cabbage.

• Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and then finish with the dressing, ensuring that you have an even and liberal coating.

• This is great served immediately, but gets even better as it sits.  I like to make it a day ahead of time and allow it to come together in the icebox.  Hands down, this is one of the most refreshing summer salads I have ever had.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Makes about 2 cups

2 c. pomegranate juice

2 tsp. raspberry vinegar or good red vinegar

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbsp. fresh maple syrup, or to taste

3/4 grape seed oil or light oil

salt and cracked pepper to taste

• On a low heat simmer the juice down to about 1/2 cup and chill thoroughly.

• Add other ingredients except oil and whisk well.

• Continue to whisk and drizzle in the oil in a small stream.

• Add until incorporated and adjust the seasoning.

• Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to toss salad.

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