Monday, July 28, 2014

Coconut-Lime Herb Salad

SALAD is BACK on the menu!  And so is RAW KALE.  Oh my!  Personally, I find this beautiful leafy green always seems a bit unapproachable if it’s not liquefied (in a green juice).  As a juice I love kale, but in a salad usually not so much.  THIS IS THE EXCEPTION:  A very simple and lovely herb-kale salad!  What really elevates the salad is the exceptionally smooth and creamy coconut-lime vinaigrette.

ShreddedKaleSalad

Here are a few tips for the kale “haters” like myself.  Always remove the tough stem from the leaf.  This part can be unpleasantly chewy, but also quite bitter.  Furthermore, I recommend chopping the kale very finely into ribbons or a small rough chop and then mix in the fresh cilantro and basil leaves in order to give the salad greens a less monotone texture and flavor profile.  The small cuts of kale are much more tender to chew and they also mix better with the other salad goodies. 

The following recipe serves 4-6.  Please feel free to scale up the portion size as needed, or reserve leftovers for another day.

Salad
  • 1 bunch of Curly Kale;  de-stemmed and chopped VERY fine
  • 1-2 packages Baby Heirloom Tomatoes
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh Cilantro;  de-stemmed
  • 2-3 stems of fresh Basil;  de-stemmed and finely chopped
  • 2 ripe Avocadoes

Vibaigrette
  • 3/4 cup Vegetable Oil of preference
  • 1/3 cup White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Honey (or 4 soaked Dates)
  • 3 Tbsp. low sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 Limes;  juiced and zested
  • 1 Thai Coconut;  it’s coconut meat + 1 cup of it’s juice

Preparations:
  • Pull or cut the kale away from its stem.  Stack the leaves and slice them into very thin ribbons.  For an even finer texture, give the kale another rough chop.  Place the cut greens into a large bowl. 
  • De-stem the cilantro and place the whole leaves into the bowl with the kale. 
  • De-stem and then chiffonade the basil leaves into fine ribbons.  Stack and roll the leaves before cutting them in order to make this process easier.  Add the basil into the bowl with the other salad greens. 
  • Wash, clean and dry the salad greens.  It’s easiest to use a salad-spinner for this step (if you don’t have one handy in your kitchen, simply wash and dry all fresh produce before cutting them).
  • Prepare the salad dressing:  For ease of use and smoothest texture, I recommend preparing the dressing in a high powered blender such as a Vitamix.  An immersion blender or food processor will work as well, but you have to work in steps and blend thoroughly to achieve a pleasantly smooth consistency.  Add the ingredients for the dressing in the following order:  White Balsamic Vinegar, Honey or soaked Dates, Soy Sauce, Lime Juice and Zest, Thai Coconut meat and 1 cup of its juice.  Blend until smooth and then add the Vegetable oil into the mixture and blend again to incorporate.
  • Pour the dressing over kale salad and toss to coat.  Then, portion the salad greens onto individual plates. 
  • Wash and cut the cherry tomatoes before adding them on top of the salads.
  • Prepare the avocado slices:  cut the avocado in half and slice into the peel in length wises strips before scooping it out with a spoon.  Add the avocado slices on top of each salad.
  • Enjoy!
What’s on the menu for you this week?  Please feel free to leave links to recipes or ├╝ber-long comments detailing your culinary favorites.  
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       Nina & Spencer

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