Sunday, June 5, 2011

Raw Kale Salad with Parmesan, Red Pepper, and Bread Crumbs

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks, which adapted it from Melissa Clark's "In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite." The combination of lemon, garlic, red peppers, and sharp cheese is amazing, and will make you want to eat kale every day.

1 bunch kale - I used about 7 giant stalks.
2 slices whole wheat bread, or two handfuls good, homemade coarse breadcrumbs
1 small garlic clove
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup (or small handful) grated pecorino or parmesan cheese, plus additional for garnish
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly squeezed juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Rip the leaves off the kale stalks, and discard the stems. Slice the kale into 1/2 inch ribbons. You'll probably have about 3 cups worth. Place it in a large bowl.

If using the bread, toast it until golden brown on both sides and dry throughout. Tear into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.

Mince the garlic very finely and transfer it to a bowl. Add the lemon juice and let it hang out for about 10 minutes; this will take the edge off the garlic. (However, if you love raw garlic, you can skip this step). Add olive oil, salt, black pepper to taste, and red pepper flakes, and whisk to combine.

Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves). Let the salad sit for 5-10 minutes; the lemon juice and salt will actually wilt the kale leaves a bit. Add the grated cheese and toss again. Then serve topped with the bread crumbs and additional cheese. Plan on eating the whole bowl, because it's just that good.

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