two great salads

kale salad apple raisin parmesan almond recipeOddly enough, from the time I shuttered my food blog over three years ago, the amount of cooking I do has increased. I’ve always been a steadfast cook, but when I was a single girl living solo, avocado on toast or a bag of popcorn constituted dinner more often than I care to remember.

Now married — to another zealous eater and cook — those popcorn and toast dinners are an infrequent affair. Unless we’re out to eat, we’re in our kitchen cooking. It’s sacred time to talk about our days, unwind with a glass of wine, and of course, dream up dinner together.

In some ways, I’m happy my food blogging days are over. In other ways, I sometimes miss having an outlet to share the really-extra-special dishes that come from our kitchen. Also: I really enjoy writing recipes.

As a nod to my former self, I offer two great salads we’ve been loving of late. Does the world need more salads? Maybe not. But these are so substantial, delicious and everything-salad-should-be that I felt compelled to share.

Shredded Kale Salad with Golden Raisins, Almonds, Parmesan, Apple

IMG_0869This is the salad to a) impress your kale loving friends; and b) convince your kale hating friends. It uses an unusual preparation of really finely chopping the kale in a food processor. You want it to look almost too fine — think, bordering on parsley for tabbouleh. The salad is stunning right away, but gets even better after a day in the fridge to mingle.

Ingredients

  • 1 large head red curly kale (or lacinato/Tuscan, if you like a more pungent salad), cleaned, dried and trimmed of thick spines (thin spines near the top are okay)
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (salad quality)
  • 1 ripe/juicy lemon, juiced (should yield about 1/2c)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 c golden raisins
  • 1/3 c Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 small apple, thinly sliced lengthwise (see photo)
  • 1/3 c slivered almonds, toasted and cooled

Method

Chop the kale: Working in batches, pulse the kale in a large-cup food processor until you have tiny pieces. They will look too small, but the little bits break down more easily and really soak up the dressing.

Make the dressing: In a bowl, whisk the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oil and whisk to emulsify.

Massage the kale: Pour the dressing over the kale and get in there with your hands. Knead the leaves as you would bread dough for about 3 minutes. You’ll know you’ve done this long enough when the volume of kale in your bowl is about halved.

Finish: Add the raisins, almonds, Parmesan and apple slices and gently toss to combine.

Serves two hungry eaters with a small leftover lunch portion. 

(recipe adapted from Elise Blaha Cripe)

Shaved Fennel Salad with Citrus and Shrimp

fennel salad citrus shrimp arugulaWe’ve made this salad so many times this spring. It’s everything I want from a salad: peppery greens, crunchy fennel, rich shrimp and bright citrus. It comes together in a snap and is one of those dinner party recipes that looks much more involved than it is.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-size bulb fennel, cored and halved (reserve the fronds if the bulb is fresh)
  • 2 large oranges, segmented (reserve the zest of one orange and the juice that drips from the segmenting process)
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 1/2 red onion, finely minced
  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, patted dry
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 + 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (salad quality)
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp cayenne (or more/less, depending on your spice tolerance)

Method

Cook the shrimp: Toss the shrimp with 1 Tbsp reserved olive oil, minced onion, salt, pepper and cayenne. In a hot pan, cook for about 2 minutes per side until shrimp are pink and opaque and the onion is translucent. Remove from heat.

Make the dressing: In a large bowl (you’ll toss the fennel in this bowl), combine the reserved orange juice, vinegar, zest, a large pinch of salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oil and whisk to emulsify.

Prepare the fennel: Using a mandolin or sharp knife, slice the bulb width-wise into paper-thin slices (or as close as possible). Toss well with dressing.

Assemble the salad: Spread arugula in a single layer on a large serving plate. Heap piles of fennel over top, and arrange orange segments and shrimp. If you have fennel fronds, toss these in any dressing leftover from the fennel bowl, and tuck into salad.

Serves two hungry eaters with a small leftover lunch portion. 

IMG_0775

Related Resources

My formula for building warm salads. 

A guide to uncomplicated meal planning for two.

See what we’re cooking this week!

One thought on “two great salads

  1. i love your kale salad. we have a similar version where we use dried cranberries and the dressing is tahini based.
    there is always room in the world for more salad, thanks for sharing yours!

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