As I mentioned here, one of the best things about our deep winter CSA is that we get locally grown greens in the middle of winter. When you try to eat seasonally in New England, it can feel like a long winter of root vegetables when the only the greens you have are those you froze the previous summer. With our last distribution, we got some very fresh and tender kale. We almost always eat our kale cooked, frequently sauteed in some olive oil with onions and garlic. Last week at a business meeting, I had a cold kale salad and suddenly, a new world of possibilities opened up.
Normally, when I see cold kale it is on the side of a diner plate as garnish. I never really thought to serve kale as the base of a salad. However, this salad was really delicious and I thought maybe it would be worth it to try to make my own kale salad. Last night, this dish was the result of that effort. Steaming the kale briefly locks in the bright green color and cooks it just enough to take the toughness out. Toss it with some paper thin red onion slices and a very simple dressing right before serving and you have a quick, easy, healthy, and really tasty salad in minutes.
Asian-Inspired Kale Salad
2 medium bunches of kale (any variety will do)
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbls Tamari soy sauce (low sodium)
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp fish sauce
1/4 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 small garlic clove, finely minced
Wash kale, cut the leaves off the stems, and chop the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Fill a large pot outfitted with a steamer basket with about an inch of water. Bring the water to a boil and add the kale to the steamer basket. Steam, with the cover on, until bright green and tender, about 5 minutes. Place the steamed kale in a bowl and chill.
Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl (or place all ingredients in a container with a lid and shake until combined). Just before serving, top the kale with very thinly sliced onion and toss with the dressing.
Serves 4. Kale can be made ahead of time and chilled, undressed, until ready to serve.