Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Must-Try "Gently Massaged" Kale Salad

This one's for you Chows!....

This past weekend my husband and I went to Los Angeles to celebrate our seven year anniversary. One night we caught up with dear friends at the Santa Monica hot spot, Gjelina. It was one of the best meals I've had in LA. I loved the starters, salads and pizzas. Everything was so flavorful, light and fresh.

One of my favorite items was the salad listed as:

Tuscan Kale, Shaved Fennel, Radish, Lemon, Ricotta Salata & Breadcrumb

After our group inhaled a few of the kale salads, I was already scheming to recreate it. The kale was the perfect texture (tender and soft) so I asked the waiter if it was cooked at all (maybe steamed or blanched????). Oh no, it wasn't cooked, it was "gently massaged". We had to laugh, but within 24 hours of arriving home, guess who was "gently massaging" kale?! I found the recipe for Gjelina's kale salad via Sweet Thing.

I served it last night and we gobbled up every last crumb. Making it again tonight for our unromantic, kid-crazy, official, anniversary dinner. (Happy Anniversary Wooger!)

A must-try salad in my opinion.

Kale Salad
From Gjelina in Venice, CA
Courtesy of Sweet Thing

1 Bunch of Kale, stems and centers discarded, finely sliced
1 Bulb of Fennel, finely sliced
4 Radishes, finely sliced
1 cup Ricotta Salata, finely sliced
5 slices French or Sourdough Baguette {or any crusty bread}, toasted and drizzled with olive oil {you can sub store bought croutons}
Splash of White Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1/4 cup Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice bread, drizzle with olive oil and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, until crispy and golden. In a large bowl, combine finely sliced kale, a drizzle of olive oil, 1/4 of lemon and a pinch of salt. Massage the kale until it starts to soften, about 2 min. Massaging the kale in the oil makes all the difference.

Then add the sliced fennel, radish and ricotta salata. Crumble toasted bread over the salad. Toss with the rest of the lemon juice, a splash of white balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

* I always check the seasoning and add more lemon, vinegar, oil, salt or pepper if needed. I have also been using PCC's croutons instead of toasting the bread. I just crush seasoned croutons into bread crumbs and think it adds to the flavor of the salad

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