Kale and Grilled Golden Beet Salad
Here's a great raw kale salad that everyone will love. The key is to take bunch of raw Tuscan kale (also called lacinato or black kale), which is more delicate than other varieties, slice it into ribbons, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and massage the kale gently by hand for about 1/2 minute. The kale will still be crunchy but this will break up the fibers in the kale and give it a more tasty texture. Toss those ribbons with a thick bright dressing of garlic paste, pecorino, lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Now add some grilled golden beets. Top with freshly toasted bread crumbs and a bit of pecorino. The leaves are sturdy enough to stand up to the bold flavors and the beets add a delectable sweetness. (Beets may be cooked up to a day in advance.)
MAKES: 2 Servings
PREP/COOK TIME: 1 1/2 hours
1 medium yellow beet
1 bunch Tuscan kale (also known as black or lacinato kale)
1 thin slice country bread (part whole-wheat or rye is nice), or 1/4 cup homemade bread crumbs (coarse)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ cup finely grated pecorino cheese, more for garnish
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for garnish
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place beet in a baking dish with an inch of water. Tightly cover baking dish and roast for 1 hour or so, until beet is soft enough to yield to a fork and skins easily rub off. Peel beet, let cool. (Beets may be cooked up to a day in advance.)
Slice the beet into 1/2 inch rounds and brush lightly with olive oil and a pinch of salt on both sides. Prepare a bed of medium-hot coals for grilling or heat a stovetop grill pan. Grill the beets for just long enough to leave grill marks on each side. You do not want to over cook them. Once grilled and cooled enough to work with dice them into 1/2-inch cubes.
Trim bottom 2 inches off kale stems and discard. Slice kale, including ribs, into 3/4-inch-wide ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups. Place kale and beets in a large bowl.
If using bread, toast it until golden on both sides. Tear it into small pieces and grind in a food processor until mixture forms coarse crumbs.
Using a mortar and pestle, or with the back of a knife, pound garlic into a paste. Transfer garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper flakes and black pepper, and whisk to combine. Pour dressing over kale and beets and toss very well to thoroughly combine (dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat leaves).
Let salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with bread crumbs, additional cheese and a drizzle of oil.
Variations: Instead of Beets use can use thinly slice apple, raisins or currants. Not need to cook them..
Storage Beets may be cooked up to a day in advance.