I find myself buying kale every week with the best of intentions - as the writer Tamar Adler says, buying dark leafy greens feels very pious. Eating them is another matter, and I often look in the fridge at the end of the week to find a few yellowing stalks remaining. I halfheartedly add kale to soups and stir fries, but I'm sometimes at a loss for how else to use it, how to really make it shine.
The salad is easy to make, filling, hearty, and sturdy, so that it will keep in your fridge all week for easy snacks and hurried lunches. Best of all, the ingredients are in season right now at the farmers' market, so hop on down to the market if you're interested!
Kale Harvest Salad
1 red onion, a heel of bread (stale bread is fine!), 1 bunch lacinto or black kale, 2 carrots, 1 apple, 1 bunch of scallions (optional), olive oil, red wine vinegar, yellow mustard, salt.
-Chop the red onion into very thin half moons. Cover it with red wine vinegar, and let it sit for 10 minutes to quickly pickle.
-Tear or cut your bread into small pieces, toss them in olive oil and a little salt, and stick them into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until they get brown and toasty and delectable.
-As the onions pickle and the croutons cook, wash and chop the kale into small pieces (think chopped-salad small). Pile the pieces in a bowl and set aside.
-Using a vegetable peeler, shave the carrots into long ribbons. Add them to the salad.
-Chop the apple into bite-size pieces. If you're serving the salad at a party or plan to have it around for a few days, squeeze some lemon juice over them to keep them from browning.
-Add the apples, onions, and croutons to the salad. Combine the red wine vinegar that you used for pickling the onions with an equal amount of olive oil, stir in a dab of mustard to taste, and whisk the vinaigrette until combined. Toss it into the salad if you're planning to serve it right away, or stick it in the fridge until later. I also think chopped scallions sprinkled over the top are a nice addition, if you'd like.
Simple salads like this are ripe for re-imagining, so let me know if you make any particularly tasty modifications. Roasted walnuts would be a good addition, or pears instead of apples, or breadcrumbs instead of croutons, or some lemon zest or sesame seeds sprinkled over the top.