The story starts with a fistful of cavolo nero leaves. Time was tight. There was no game plan to speak of, and cheesy ziti bubbled and browned in the oven. But who was ready to embrace winter — by which I mean stewed kale on the side? Not here. The snappy decision was raw kale salad. We’d declined to try it a few years back, when it was all the rage.

And well! I’m late to this party, but let me tell you this stuff is actually delicious. I love the salad’s slight crunch and green freshness; the lemon juice softens the kale ribbons just enough to blunt its raw edge. Should you require further proof of concept, consider that my husband, a skeptic through and through, packed the remnants for lunch today.

Recipe: Tuscan Kale Salad

1 bunch Tuscan kale, aka black kale, dinosaur kale, cavolo nero (see photo above) / 2 tbls lemon juice / 3 tbls olive oil / 1 small clove garlic, minced finely / 3 tbls Parmesan cheese / scant ¼ tsp salt / crushed red pepper to taste / ¼ cup breadcrumbs, toasted

Strip stems from kale and slice into ½-inch ribbons. Mix together lemon juice, oil, garlic, cheese, salt, and red pepper, then toss thoroughly with kale until all strands are dressed. Toss again with breadcrumbs and let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Feeds 4 as a side. Adapted from Melissa Clark.

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