I no longer have an enormous vegetable garden, but I still can’t live without ‘Lacinato’ Kale.
Sometimes called “Tuscan Kale” or “Dinosaur Kale,” this dark, crinkly Italian kale is thought to date back to the 18th century. If the leaves are picked small (8 to 10 inches), it is incredibly tender and sweet, especially after a frost.
Kale, like other greens, is very easy to start from seed on a windowsill and can easily be grown in a container. It makes an ideal spring or fall crop, and would look lovely grown with flowers as edible landscaping.
I have never yet found this kale for sale in my supermarket produce section, but it is the star ingredient in my favorite kale salad recipe.
“Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans” is found in The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman.
FOR THE SALAD:
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 8 ounces Black Kale, also known as Cavolo Nero, or Lacinato, Dinosaur, or Tuscan Kale
- 4 ounces radishes, sliced into paper-thin rounds
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 2 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled
FOR THE DRESSING:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoon honey
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional step: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spread the pecans on a tray. Toast them for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing them once or twice to make sure they toast evenly. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool.
Wash your kale and let it dry on spread-out kitchen or paper towels. Then, with a knife, remove the rib from each stalk, leaving long strips of kale leaves. Stack the leaves in small batches, roll them tightly the long way, and cut the roll crosswise into thin ribbons. Add the kale ribbons to a large salad bowl.
Add the radishes, pecans and cherries. Crumble the goat cheese over top.
Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small dish, and pour the dressing over the salad.
This salad is great to eat right away, but even better after 20 minutes of tenderizing in the dressing.