Monday, November 24, 2014

Date & Chorizo Kale Salad

We don’t usually have salad at our Thanksgiving feast, do you? I’ve always felt like, who wants to fill their plates and bellies with lettuce when there are already too many other good things to get through?

Date & Chorizo Kale Salad // Loves Food, Loves to Eat But this year, I’m throwing this salad option out there for you, just in case you want a dose of something green and leafy. And it’s kale, so really, no worries about that whole lettuce issue I mentioned above.

Date & Chorizo Kale Salad // Loves Food, Loves to Eat I got the inspiration for this salad from the New York Times Thanksgiving by State article. An article which, by the way, has Washingtonians very confused. Glazed shiitake mushrooms with bok choy!? So random. I get the Asian influence, we do have a lot of that here. But they seem to have totally passed over all of our amazing local ingredients that typically go into a Washington fall feast: chanterelle mushrooms, which are in-season and abundant in certain parts of the state right now; apples, for which we have orchard upon orchard upon orchard; Walla Walla sweet onions from, you guessed it, Walla Walla Washington; salmon and dungeness crab… I mean, they had so much to work with! And they failed. Big time.

Date & Chorizo Kale Salad // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Sometimes I feel like everyone on the east coast is like “Washington… DC, right?” And I’m like “Hello! We’re over here! We’re a state!” Like in the 90s, when we first got (dial-up) internet at home and I spent all my time in chatrooms (um, geocities, amiright!?) and whenever I got A/S/L’d, I obviously lied about the A and said I was a cool, older 16 year old…I was really more like 14 (sorry mom), and even though I was supposed to lie about the L (sorry mom), I would say “Washington,” and my chat-mate would always think DC. Every. Damn. Time. Also, I got in trouble when my mom discovered my chat name was something like “cutiegirl16.” IT WAS THE 90S YOU GUYS. To Catch a Predator wasn’t even a thing yet.

Date & Chorizo Kale Salad // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Oh, sorry. I digress. Back to this kale salad. I was inspired by California’s non-terrible representation: kale/date/almond stuffing! Since all these ingredients can be saladified with different proportions, I went that route. The bread becomes crunchy rustic croutons, the kale gets a massage but stays fresh and raw. I nixed the ground turkey and cooked onions because texture, and added Spanish chorizo, cranberries, and a little shallot-lemon dressing, because flavor. It all comes together for a fresh, autumn salad, perfect for Thanksgiving or any other fall dinner. 

(PS. this is a husband arm modeling our chorizo, below!)

Date & Chorizo Kale Salad // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Date & Chorizo Kale Salad
Makes 4 servings

Unlike its crumbly, un-cooked Mexican cousin, Spanish chorizo is a hard, cured link, similar to salami. If you can’t find it, you can order online:

1 load sourdough bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
Salt & pepper

2 bunches of Lacinato Kale, rinsed and dried
Olive oil
Flaked sea salt

5 large dates, pitted and roughly chopped
½ cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
Spanish chorizo, sliced or diced, about 1 cup
1 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped

Juice from half a lemon
1 teaspoon finely diced shallot
1 teaspoon brown mustard
1 teaspoon olive oil
Fresh ground black pepper

First, croutons. Preheat oven to 400.

Cut the crust off the bread, and cut or tear the rest into rustic, large-but-bite-sized chunks. Spread bread chunks on a sheet pan, and drizzle with the 2 T olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and a couple heavy pinches of salt and black pepper. Toss together until the bread is well coated.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until croutons are lightly browned and crunchy. Set aside.

Next, kale.

Remove the stems, and tear the leaves into bite sized pieces. Add kale to a large bowl, and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil (less than tablespoon), and a heavy pinch of flaked sea salt. Massage the salt and oil into the kale leaves with your hands—this helps break down the tough leaves—until the leaves are softer and a more vibrant green.

Add dates through cranberries to kale.

Finally, the dressing.

Whisk together lemon through black pepper, and pour over salad. Toss everything together, and enjoy! Can also be eaten the next day.
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