Minimalist Kale Salad (and 4 favorite food adjectives)

A few weeks ago, Earth Day to be exact, I ended up at Motor City Bar for a pickelback tasting.  This was followed by a rainy trek over to Northern Spy, which unbeknownst to me harbored a highly-regarded kale salad (although the pork sticky buns – bits of juicy pork baked into a doughy cinnabon-looking coil, glazed  with a white horseradish sauce – were my highlight).

The fare seemed simple enough, so I looked up a kale and pecorino salad recipe in order to get this:

All you need is kale, pecorino romano cheese, olive oil, a lemon or two, and some salt and pepper.  All the kale needs is a sensual massage, unless you want the texture of the stuff that lines the salad bars of Ponderosa Steakhouse.

Ingredients (roughly)

1 bunch kale

A lemon or two

1/4 cup olive oil per lemon

Pecorino Romano cheese, shredded (parm works, it’s just not as strong)

Salt and pepper to taste


1.  Roll that kale up like a Balduck doobie at dusk. Of course no stems – you rolled that fatty Kale so you can cut out the large stem and then slice the leafy part into ribbons.

2.  If you’re going the massage route, pinch those dank kale ribbons together with your fingers in order to break them down so that they chill out and stop acting so tough and fibery.  LA Times says: “You can feel it happening. You can see it too — the leaves will darken and shrink to almost half their pre-massage volume.”  Leave to the L.A. paper to recommend a spa treatment for a vegetable.

2. Toss the kale with the pecorino cheese.

3. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together, drizzle on the salad, and add salt and pepper to taste

Note: you have the option of letting your kale trip out on the acids in the lemon juice for an hour or more.  Most stuff I’ve read recommends this so that the kale wilts even more.  Apparently making a kale salad is all about beating it into submission.  I like my kale on the muscular side though.

Other note: Most of the recipe from here, though I read a bunch of stuff eventually.

Final note: Also found the Northern Spy version later and it looks tasty.  You’ll notice the listing for “clothbound cheddar.”  Clothbound, like cave-aged, steel-cut, or stone-ground, is a can’t miss food adjective in my opinion.  Also, is it wrong that I also associate those first two adjectives with Jesus?

Northern Spy Food Co.’s Kale Salad
Yield: 2 servings


2 1⁄2 cups chopped or shredded kale (preferably Tuscan or black kale)
1⁄4 cup toasted almonds
1⁄4 cup crumbled Cabot clothbound cheddar (or any
good, aged cheddar)
1⁄2 cup cubed roasted kabocha or butternut squash or pumpkin
Fresh lemon juice
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Pecorino or other hard cheese, for shaving
Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

1. In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with the almonds, cheddar squash/pumpkin, and pumpkin seeds (if desired). Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (approximately 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Divide salad between two plates or shallow bowls. Garnish shaved pecorino cheese, if desired, and serve.

One thought on “Minimalist Kale Salad (and 4 favorite food adjectives)

  1. This salad looks delicious, but I can’t believe you had the choice between making kale salad and pork sticky buns and you chose the former!

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