Kale + Ricotta Salad w/Lemon

February 17, 2012

We used to receive a CSA box from a farmer in Okinawa. As you might imagine, all of the mystery associated with the farmer’s special delivery was 10-fold in Asia. Exotic vegetables and fruits abound and, though I could always find new recipes to fit the contents of our refrigerator, sometimes the recipes took a few tries to figure out how to handle the ingredients.

Never had I known squashes that must be soaked in salt overnight to dispell bitterness.

Or greens that must be trimmed, stemmed, massaged, and highly seasoned to consume.

Fruits that needed to be deseeded with tweezers?

And soy products whose smells you could TASTE?

Oh boy.

One of my royal accidents was with a local green – a little bit like kale. I hadn’t cooked, massaged, sauteed, seasoned, or sung to it quite enough for it to be delicious…to the point that my husband cried when he ate dinner that night. I was HIGHLY discouraged from making bitter greens again and have been hiding collards and kale in our meals ever since.

So, when bushy lacinato kale arrived in our CSA box, I gulped. We didn’t have greens, and I needed a fresh salad. So, I took a deep breath and whipped this up. Derek took a bite, and smiled. I nearly collapsed under the tense pressure in the room.

The word on the street is that you must massage kale to eat it raw – not so. In this case, I trimmed the stalks, salt and peppered the leaves, and then dressed the salad with oil and lemon while I prepared the rest of dinner. The salt and acid had their chance to work on the dish so the leaves were still fresh tasting, but manageable by the time we ate it — say, 45 minutes later.

 

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