Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Kale & Butternut Squash Salad: Massage Your Kale

That sounds naughty...right?

Like you, I resolve every year to eat a little better. And every year, I succumb to the Nutella-buttercream stuffed whoopie pie at the expense of, well, my waistline.

This year however, I'm off to a good start, especially since I stumbled up on a really delicious recipe courtesy of the lovely folks over at the fab Food 52. If you haven't had a chance to check it out, please do so. It's a wealth of cooking info and a great source for really good, solid recipes.

As I looked through the site hoping for some inspiration on cooking with winter greens, I found a kale salad recipe from a restaurant in NYC called Northern Spy. You can check out the original recipe here, along with a gorgeous pic of their finished product.

Even though the recipe looked pretty darn good, I did a little more research into eating raw kale and found that massaging the kale lends a little extra tenderness to the final dish; something I was all for, as I find raw kale to be a bit too bitter and tough for my personal taste.

So I did what any good cook loves to do, which is change the recipe about here and there to include a new technique and get a few ingredients swapped about. Make no doubt about it -- this is definitely a riff on an already excellent recipe by Northern Spy, with just a few changes, including the whole massaging thing. Which is really funny to write, and even funnier to say. That said, take a look and give it a try.

Kale & Butternut Squash Salad
serves 4

1 small Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 large bunch Kale, de-stemmed and cut into strips/bite-sized pieces (choose your variety; I'm finding the curlier edged stuff at my local grocery but would love to locate a bit of Dinosaur kale)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup toasted, chopped Hazelnuts
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, not shredded, but cut into small little bite-sized pieces
2 more tablespoons good quality Olive Oil
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed Lemon Juice

Just look at this gorgeous kale! And yes, I did cut the squash smaller for roasting.
Preheat your oven to 450-degrees. Toss the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, then sprinkle to taste with a little bit of salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, stir and toss, then roast an additional 15 minutes, until tender. Place on a cooling rack and allow to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, Place the kale in a large bowl. Sprinkle the 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt over the kale and begin to massage the salt into the kale, but not in a wussy, sad kinda way, but vigorously, twisting and turning to be sure to work the salt into the kale.

You'll start with this...

And end up with this...

This is where you'll notice, after a minute or two that you've lost quite a bit of volume in your kale, and that it looks a bit shinier and glossier. This is very good.

Add the cooled butternut squash, toasted hazelnuts, Parm, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and lemon juice, then toss really well to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper as you deem necessary. (Be sure you taste before adding the s&p, as you've already added salt to your dish when massaging the kale.)

Healthy, tasty, and truthfully, a total snap to prepare. Doesn't that look delicious?

Now, go forth and be healthy!


Theresa said...

It sounds absolutely delicious and simple enough for me to try...thanks.

Chef Christine said...

Totally doable, and I'm not usually a fan of green veggies. Let me know what you think!

jesshibb said...

I had Sunday Supper at Northern Spy the last time I was in NYC ... so good!

Chef Christine said...

I'm thinking of stopping by Northern Spy when I'm in NYC in March. Glad to hear you've got a good rec! Now I can add it to the list with Prune...

Meredith Ericksen - Tuscan Blue Design said...

Love this recipe. I thought Kale had to be boiled and boiled like 'southern greens'... nice to see if can be 'softened' and used fresh!

Chef Christine said...

Don't tell anyone, but I'm sooooo lazy in the kitchen. If I can find a way around cooking something, I will! Love the whole massage idea here. And thanks for commenting!