Kale Salad with Pecorino & Walnuts

I’m sure for most people, the first few weeks after having a baby are hectic. I know for us, we were trying to get our house situated, adjust to the new schedule and figure out everything we still needed to buy for the baby. During this time, many daily activities fell by the wayside: bed making didn’t happen, teeth brushing became sporadic, and reading my Feedly blogs went completely forgotten. I finally got some time a few days ago to catch up on my blogs; as I was reading Smitten Kitchen, Deb made a suggestion for Rosh Hashanah recipes. It occurred to me then and there that I had volunteered to bring a salad to our holiday dinner. Deb’s mention of her Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts sounded like the perfect addition to the meal. I know I’ve posted kale salads before, but I loved the sweetness of the golden raisins and the crunch and texture of the toasted panko breadcrumbs that this version had to offer. The salad was a complete hit at dinner last night, and thanks to multiple people going back for seconds, I went home with an empty bowl! To those of you who observe Rosh Hashanah, I hope you have a Happy New Year!
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Kale Salad with Pecorino & Walnuts

Source: Smitten Kitchen

What You Need

  • 1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup panko or slightly coarse homemade breadcrumbs (from a thin slice of hearty bread)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • Coarse or kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch lacinato/tuscan kale, washed and patted dry
  • 2 ounces pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor, which makes it delightfully rubbly (1/2 cup total)
  • Juice of half a lemon, or more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste

What To Do

  1. Prepare walnuts: Heat oven to 350. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop.
  2. Prepare raisins: In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid.
  3. Prepare crumbs: Toast bread crumbs, garlic and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.
  4. Prepare kale: Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs by running a knife along side the stem, separating the leaves from the stems. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise.
  5. Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino, walnuts and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, a final 1 teaspoon drizzle of olive oil.

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