Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lacinato Kale Salad with Hazelnuts, Golden Raisins, Parmesan, Vidalia Onions & Mustard-Malt Vinaigrette

Serves 4


For the vinaigrette:
1/2 small garlic clove, minced
1 Tbl Dijon mustard
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
3 Tbl malt vinegar
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the rest of the salad:
2 bunches Lacinato kale
1 small Vidalia onion
1 cup hazelnuts
2/3 cup golden raisins
2-3 oz block of parmesan cheese
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

First make the vinaigrette: Combine the minced garlic, mustard, thyme, malt vinegar, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper in a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk together, and slowly pour in the olive oil, then the vegetable oil, both in a thin stream and whisking as you pour.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  This can be made ahead and refrigerated for about 4-5 days in an airtight container until needed.

Next, prepare the rest of the salad: Working with 3-4 leaves at a time, and cutting straight across the width of the leaves, slice the kale into thin ribbons of about 1/8 inch thick.  Slice from the tips of the leaves to within about an inch from the base of the leaves, discarding the tough, wide stem area at the bottom. Wash the ribbons of kale in cool water, then spin dry.

Slice the top and bottom ends off the onion, then slice the onion in half from top to bottom.  Remove the skin and thinly slice the onion. You’ll probably only need between 1/4 and 1/2 the onion, depending on its size and on how much you like onions.
Spread the raw hazelnuts on a parchment-lined sheet tray and roast in a 350°F oven until toasted and aromatic, about fifteen minutes or so, rotating the pan about half-way through.  Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.  Removing the skins can be a real hassle, so just try your best – I like a bit of skin left on anyways.  Here’s a handy trick through.  Take a handful of cool, toasted hazelnuts and, holding them over the colander bowl of a salad spinner, rub them between your hands to remove as much of the skin as possible.  Place in the colander, then repeat with the rest of the nuts, Give the salad spinner a few spins and the papery skins will separate out from the nuts.  Discard the skins.
Slice about half of the raisins in half, and leave the rest whole.  Slice the parmesan cheese into thin ribbons using a vegetable peeler.  

Assemble the salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sliced kale with most of the prepared onions, hazelnuts, raisins and parmesan.  (I say most of the onions, hazelnuts, etc. because you’ll want to keep a little bit left over to top the salads. It’s always nice to have some of the pretty stuff right on top.) Drizzle the vinaigrette on top. Season with a good pinch of salt and a few good grinds of pepper. Toss to coat thoroughly, and place onto salad plates. Top with the rest of the onions, hazelnuts, raisins and parmesan. Serve immediately.




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