Sooooo. I like things baked. I like hot and gooey. I like warm and flaky. I like messy and steamy. I like melty and doughy. But apparently. APPARENTLY. Most things warm flaky gooey messy melty are not exactly super good for you. There are exceptions for sure. But in general things that are hard, green, crunchy, and cold are the things that, you know, don’t make you a fatty.
It’s hard for me to get SUPER jazzed about raw veggies. I mean, don’t get me wrong here. I am a vegetable lover. A really nice greek salad on a hot day is hard to compete with. And who doesn’t love cucumbers and red peppers and carrots? But it’s rare that I’m eating a vegetable and I’ll turn to my nearest neighbor and be like, OH MY GOD I HAVE DIED AND GONE TO HEAVEN, like I would do with most baked goods and just about anything involving melted cheese.
This recipe though. I’m a lover of this recipe. I’ve made this salad probably 4 or 5 times, and I can’t get enough. Something about the combination of the tough raw kale, the tangy lemon and garlic, the sharp cheese, and the crunchy breadcrumbs really knocks this out of the park for me.
It’s one of those salads that, after you eat it, you can literally FEEL the minerals seeping into your bones. It’s so gosh darn healthy. But it’s interesting! And different! And good! So embrace the hard crunchy. Take a break from that 80th grilled cheese sandwich. Momentarily put down that chocolate croissant. Let rest the shrinking wheel of brie. If you are what you eat, you’ll practically have your doctorate in Health & Nutrition after this salad.
Raw Tuscan Kale Salad with Pecorino
from the NYTimes
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)
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, more for garnish
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for garnish
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. 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 in a large bowl.
2. 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.
3. 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 toss very well to thoroughly combine (dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat leaves).
4. Let salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with bread crumbs, additional cheese and a drizzle of oil.
Yield: 2 to 4 servings.