everyone knows that dark leafy greens–kale, spinach, chard, and the like–pack a potent nutritional punch. but for many people, these valuable veggies conjure up images of boring salads or dreary piles of watery steamed leaves. there are, however, endless ways to prepare tasty dishes that deliver all the nutrition of leafy greens with great texture and flavor, too.
following my spinach and cheddar frittata recipe for last week’s fn dish, i decided to focus on another leaf this weekend: kale. i’ve always enjoyed kale sautéed with garlic or other aromatics, but a visit to mario batali’s esca a few years ago taught me that it’s also delicious raw. with this as inspiration, i’ve developed a kale salad that has become a staple of my repertoire. it’s delicious as a side dish for everything from roast chicken to pasta, and it’s also a healthy and filling snack or light meal on its own. a poached or fried egg on top turns leftover salad into a delicious dinner. the only tricks are to be patient with the onions so they get nice and soft, and to clean the kale thoroughly and remove the central stem, which is unappealingly fibrous.
rustic kale salad
serves 6 as a side dish
1 large bunch kale, stemmed and sliced into thin ribbons
3 medium red onions, sliced into thin half-moons (yellow onions are also fine)
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup thickly grated parmesan cheese
1/8 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
1. heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. once glistening, add the sliced onions and cook, stirring very infrequently, until soft and thoroughly caramelized, approximately 30-40 minutes.
2. meanwhile, place the sliced kale, pine nuts, and grated cheese in a large bowl.
3. when the onions are ready, allow them to cool for a few minutes in the pan. then pour them, along with any pan juices, over the salad. add the 1/8 cup olive oil and lemon juice, toss thoroughly, and serve. the salad keeps well in the fridge for a few days and can be eaten room temperature or chilled.