It took some time for me to warm up to raw kale in a salad. It was always an eat-it-cuz-it’s-healthy winter staple, sautéed it in a little olive oil with garlic and some lemon or vinegar. In fact, kale’s rise in popularity mystifies me. Despite its healthful qualities, its bitterness is an acquired taste.
For some, kale’s rise in status has a downside. A mention of the vegetable elicits an eye-roll from my Brooklyn-living Ace Reporter son, always the contrarian.
Cliché or not, kale is here to stay, so I made a stab at coming up with a salad I would want to revisit time and again, especially now that it’s in all the farmers’ markets. One could argue that it is a beautiful leafy green that is hard to resist.
Cut into ribbons, sturdy kale can stand up to a strong, tangy dressing like this one, made with cream and lemon instead of oil and vinegar, and spiked with plenty of mustard. Toast some walnuts, throw in thirst-quenching apples, add spicy radishes to the mix, and you have an abundance of flavors that will awaken your taste buds. That long, cold winter is finally ancient history.
Chopped kale salad with apples and creamy mustard dressing (Serves 4)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 to 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (to taste)
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a bowl, stir the cream, Dijon mustard, grainy mustard, lemon juice, salt, and pepper together.
1/2 cup walnuts
1 bunch lacinato (Tuscan) kale
1/2 small head radicchio, cut into thin ribbons
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into bite-size matchsticks
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread the walnuts on a pie pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until toasty and fragrant. Cool.
3. Fold the kale leaves in half lengthwise, and with a knife, strip out the stems. Stack the leaves and cut them into thin ribbons.
4. In a bowl, combine the kale, radicchio, apples, radishes, and walnuts. Toss with the dressing and serve.