Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Current Salad Obsession

Terrible photo. Tastes way better than it looks.

I went to Portland back in early June (more on that trip soon) and went to a great restaurant called Ox where we had a delicious kale salad. It's just my style to come home, crave it, and then have to re-create it. The problem was that it was not your ordinary grocery store kale, with enormous, mature, tough leaves. This kale was soft and tender. Being the determined soul that I am, I hatched a plan. I would plant my own kale in the garden, then harvest the leaves when they were still young and tender. And that's exactly what I did and I have been eating this salad every few days ever since. I don't think this salad would be as good with the thick tough leaves from the grocery store but you can find some good kale at the farmers market right now that's smaller and softer so I would hunt that down if you can.

The best ranch dressing I've ever had in my life, by far, is from Varlamos Pizzeria in Seattle. No grocery store ranch dressing comes close. So I've been swinging by there every few days for a little tub of ranch to go. If you live close enough, I recommend that. Otherwise just track down some good ranch or better yet, make your own.

Kale Salad w/ Strawberries, Fried Chickpeas & Feta Ranch Dressing

Kale, I used a mix of different kinds, the most tender leaves you can find
Strawberries, preferably fresh, local and organic, quartered
Garbanzo beans
Feta cheese
Ranch dressing, the best you can find
Kalamata olives, optional

To fry the garbanzo beans:

In a medium sauce pan, heat 6 T olive oil over high heat. Add the garbanzo beans and cook for 4-8 minutes, stirring regularly, until they are perfectly cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to plate with a paper towel to soak up the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Allow to cool. (Can be done ahead of time)

Rinse kale and break into large bite size pieces. Add to salad bowl with strawberries, fried garbanzo beans and kalamatas if using. Sprinkle with a touch of salt and pepper. Put a small handful of feta in a jar and smash with a fork. Add ranch dressing and shake to combine. Toss feta ranch dressing with salad, sprinkle with another touch of salt and serve.

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