As we get close to our CSA pickup day, we have fewer and fewer vegetables in the refrigerator, forcing us be a little more creative with our meals. We don’t think that’s a bad thing, however, since it gets us trying dishes that we might not have, otherwise. Today’s post is a case in point; we needed something for lunch, but, when we looked in the refrigerator, it was pretty bare.
A couple of mushrooms, two little squash, a box of strawberries, 6-7 leaves of kale, and about a pound of fresh cherries. That’s all we had, along with some staples. We first thought of just having kale and strawberry salad, but, thinking about the staples we have in the house, we figured that a few sliced almonds would add a nice crunch, especially since we didn’t have any croutons. From there, all we needed to do was figure out a dressing. We normally have vinaigrette dressings that we just make up right before serving, but what kind? We settled on grapefruit, since we have grapefruit juice in the house, but any citrus would be nice.
With all that covered, let’s scratch out a salad for lunch!
We didn’t do it this time because we went for speed, but, if you want a better-tasting salad, take the time to toast the almonds. They’ll taste nuttier. Just put them in a small skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring and shaking as needed, until golden brown, then sprinkle over the salad. For the extra-virgin olive oil, buy something you like, but realize that many extra-virgin olive oils are not. Some are not even olive oil! Really. Check out Truth in Olive Oil for more details.
Procedure in detail:
It’s a salad, so you pretty much know how to make it, especially since we didn’t do anything fancy.
Tear kale. After you remove the stems from the kale — you can save those stems for making vegetable stock — tear the kale into bite-sized pieces. We recommend about an inch in size. This is especially helpful because kale is one tough vegetable. It’s tough to chew, and, for us, tough to find great ways to use kale.
Add strawberries. We trim off the stems and slice the strawberries about 1/8 inch thick. Thick enough so you get some strawberry taste, but not so thick that, when you get one, you have to chew with your mouth open. When we added strawberries, we just spread them around on top of the kale giving the salad a nice Christmas-y look.
Add almonds. Finally, sprinkle the almonds on top. If you’re going with the idea of Christmas-y looking salad, think of this as snow. Or maybe ornaments. Or, maybe, just think of it as a salad. Your choice.
Make vinaigrette. Vinaigrette dressings are really easy; so easy that they’re our go-to salad dressing. In general, we like to go with 1 part vinegar to 2 parts oil; everything else is flavoring. We know that some people will have certain ideas about how you need to mix dressing, but, we’re here to tell you that you can just put all the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl (we use a measuring cup because it has a spout) and whisk until blended, about 30 seconds.
Serve. Simply pour the vinaigrette over the top of the salad and serve.
This was okay. We have a hard time with curly leaf kale, especially when it’s raw. It’s kind of like eating a chewable hairbrush, all bristly and tough. Mainly tough. Maybe kale is the gristle of the vegetable world. The strawberries made a nice counterpoint, being sweet, whereas kale is slightly bitter. The grapefruit vinaigrette added some needed tartness. Four stars, because our jaws are still tired from chewing the kale.