Last Friday night we were in very good company. My brother-in-law and cousin-in-law were both in town from Cincinnati and they, along with a couple of wonderful friends, joined us for Shabbos dinner. Not only was I lucky enough to be surrounded by such great people, but I was also treated to a home cooked meal, in my own home, without having to cook a thing!
My husband, Andrew, who had the day off of work, prepared the the entire meal himself (bless his heart!). So, since I was not the cook that day, I can shamelessly say how wonderfully everything turned out. Red wine braised grass-fed beef shank, Isreali couscous, raw tuscan kale salad. When you're entertaining with a meal like that, it's hard to trump the meat. However, the kale salad did garner as many compliments as our slow braised headliner. Maybe it was because people know we are veggie-fanatics, maybe it was because they were shocked that they liked RAW kale so much, or maybe it was just that darn good.
It's surprisingly simple to throw together (the most time consuming part is washing and drying the kale leaves) and when you eat it you can just TELL you're doing something good for your body. And Tuscan Kale (a.k.a. dinosaur kale, lacinato kale, cavolo nero or black kale) is much more tender than other types of kale and is excellent raw. Totally raw, just dressed with a simple and zesty vinaigrette. Really.
Also, as an aside, this salad also makes a great weekend lunch. One my favorite lunches is this salad topped with an over easy egg and a big bunk of seedy whole grain bread. Heaven.
Raw Tuscan Kale Salad
1 big bunch of Tuscan kale
1 1/2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/3 c. Grana Padana or Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
Wash and pat dry kale leaves. Halve leaves lengthwise, removing and discarding coarse middle stem. Slice leaves into 1/4" wide strips by stacking several leaves on top of each other, rolling them up and then chopping (see picture above).
Prepare dressing by combing red wine vinegar, garlic and crushed red pepper in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil and season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper. Add kale into the bowl with the dressing and toss well to coat. Add grated cheese and toss gently to combine. Adjust seasoning and top with additional grated cheese, if desired.