Local Cooking at Home: Raw Kale Salad

Now that the CSA season is upon us and local farmers’ markets are burgeoning (check out the new one opening this afternoon on Grand Street), we are delighted to have LES resident and chef Carlin Greenstein contributing a weekly seasonal recipe. Her recipe for a raw kale salad is below; for more ideas, read the Local Cooking at Home archives here.

Kale has become a staple vegetable at our house. We eat it cooked for most of the year as a simple sauté, thrown into soups and stews or seasoned and crisped and made into chips. In the warmer months when I cannot bear the idea of using fire, I simply prepare it raw as a salad.

The key element to a kale salad is massaging an acidic vinaigrette into the greens, which helps break down their fibrous leaves.

My favorite dressing is a lemony Dijon vinaigrette. Once the dressing is massaged through, I simply add whatever I have on hand, making it simpler or more complex, depending upon my mood. Last week, I made a Caesar-type salad, with plenty of chopped egg, toasted croutons and thickly shaved Parmesan. This week, I simply added some toasted pumpkin seeds, diced avocado and shaved pecorino cheese. 

Raw Kale Salad

Yield: 2 generous servings

1 bunch dinosaur kale (aka black or lacinato kale)

1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, more for garnish

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more for garnish

Freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 avocado, diced

Toasted pinenuts or pumpkin seeds (optional)

Trim bottom 2 inches off the stems and discard. Chiffonade the kale (cut into 3/4-inch-wide ribbons). You should have about 5 cups. Place kale in a large bowl.

Pound garlic into a paste. Transfer garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sea salt, pepper flakes and black pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour dressing over kale and massage the greens to thoroughly coat the leaves.

Let salad sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Top with avocado, additional cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and toasted nuts or seeds if desired.

Carlin Greenstein has been creating healthy, seasonally inspired menus as a private chef for 14 years. After receiving her masters degree from New York University in Food Studies and Nutrition, Greenstein completed her certification in Holistic Health and Wellness. She runs a small business, Chew on This,” promoting local and seasonal eating.