No, not Cobb Salad.
As in, Kale•Orange•Beet.
Inspired by the Roasted Beet Salad at Barbuzzo, where chef Marcie Turney loads chiffonade of raw kale with beets, ruby red grapefruit segments, pistachio pesto, and chèvre, a couple years ago I started playing around with kale, beets, citrus, nuts, and cheese.
I’ve swapped around oranges, grapefruits, and Meyer lemons; walnuts, almonds, and pistachios; parsley, basil, arugula, and sorrel as the herb base; goat cheese and blue cheese on top – mixing and matching the components to fit my taste, mood, and pantry contents.
My favorite combo – it’s become a go-to for spring and fall potlucks – is below.
This recipe makes 6 side-size servings or 4 dinner portions. Scale it up or down as you wish.
- 1 bunch kale (about a half pound, or 10-12 leaves)
- 2-3 beets, roasted, peeled, and sliced
- 1 orange, supremed
- 2-3 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
- 1 tsp shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup packed arugula leaves
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and cooled
- juice of half an orange, plus a tsp of zest
- 1 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar
- walnut oil
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
Prep the kale
One by one, fold the the kale leaves down the center (lengthwise), and trim off the spines.
Create a stack of four or five leaves, and roll them together into sort of a log. Slice the bundle into thin ribbons.
Separate the strips of kale, and put them into a bowl. Set aside.
Make the dressing
I shoot for a slurry, midway between a pesto and a salad dressing. Use your own favorite vinaigrette as a base, or start here. I usually use a food processor for a sure emulsion, but I’ve also minced everything myself and shaken it up in a mason jar.
Pulse the herb leaves (here, parsley and arugula) and the shallot a few times in a blender or food processor. Add the nuts and the acids (OJ, zest, and vinegar), and hit the button a couple more times.
Stream in the oils, alternating between walnut oil and olive oil, until you get a consistency you like.
Taste, and adjust as you see fit. Add salt and pepper at this point, keeping in mind the saltiness and piquancy of any cheese you’ll be adding later.
Assemble the parts
Add the dressing to the bowl of kale, a few spoonfuls at a time, and toss until it’s coated to your liking. Note that you can jar any unused dressing and save it in the fridge for a few days.
Load the dressed kale into a shallow serving bowl or onto a platter or individual plates. Arrange beets and orange segments on top, and sprinkle with the goat-cheese crumbles.
A note on resurrecting kale
When my fridge is really full, I find kale (and chard, for that matter) can go limp in just a day or two. To re-crisp the greens, trim an inch or so off the stems and set them upright in a glass of cold water for a couple hours. They usually perk right up.