Dare I post another kale salad? I mean, seriously, this is now the third incarnation of this cruciferous salad and neither of my other two were very popular if I’m judging by the comments (which I am). And I’ve got Apple Bread waiting in the wings, surely a more desirable topic.
However, I shall forge ahead for a couple of reasons. First, it was requested by my lovely book-reading ladies. One, a salad-avoider, finished it and declared it “good”. A glowing recommendation indeed coming from her. Also, there’s Candied Bacon. Total game-changer people. Just go with it. The white cheddar, apples and maple dressing took nothing away from the star but are likewise totally appreciated.
We love kale salad in these parts. We devour it weekly, but we know we’re not normal. If you’re not sold on kale as a salad green, let me offer some suggestions. First, make sure you take out the stems. I go so far as to remove some of the thicker veins from the leaves as well. Next, make sure you slice it thinly, shredding it into fine noodle-like leaves. Also use ample dressing (without overdressing, be sure to taste test). Or, if you can find it, use baby kale. I was lucky to find a baby kale and spinach mix. Finally, if there’s no way you’re ever going to enjoy kale in a salad, use spinach. And don’t feel guilty. It may be getting annoyingly trendy. And besides, there’s a dark side.
If you serve it before beef brisket with mashed potatoes, scalloped tomatoes and a bacon-Brussels sprout hash, even better. Follow up with Ina’s Berry Crostata. All that’s needed is some wine, a classic novel and a long sunny Sunday afternoon.
Kale Salad, Redux
Inspired by a snowy President’s Day evening in a local bistro and Diane A Broad, whose gorgeous blog keyed me into the main star.
- 1 large package baby kale or spinach (about 6 cups)
- 4-6 strips candied bacon
- 1/4 cup, or so, brown sugar (for the bacon)
- 1/2 cup shaved white cheddar
- 1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
- maple dressing to taste (recipe follows)
1. To candy the bacon, preheat oven to 375º. Line a baking tray with parchment or foil. Place brown sugar on a plate and press the bacon pieces into it until some of it adheres. Place on baking tray and bake for 13-18 minutes or until crispy. Watch carefully to avoid burning. Place bacon on a cookie rack over foil to allow grease to drip off. As it cools, it will crisp more. Chop and set aside. (While you’re at it, I doubt you’d regret using the whole package, for there will be curious and deserving creatures sniffing about.)
2. For the dressing, add the following to a jar and shake.
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 3 tbsp. cider vinegar
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- a couple of drops of good balsamic vinegar (optional)
Taste and adjust. If it’s too tart, add olive oil or more maple syrup. If it’s not sweet enough, add more maple syrup. If it’s bland, add vinegar. Blah, blah, blah…you know the drill.
Toss kale leaves in a few tablespoons dressing, being careful not to overdress (taste as you go). Add apples and toss. Sprinkle with bacon and white cheddar. Serve.
Apple Bread is next. I promise.