Kale & Toasted Crouton Salad w Pine Nuts & Roasted Lemons
PREP TIME: 10mins
COOKING TIME: 20mins
We all know ‘kale is having a moment’ but it still has a bit of a reputation for being difficult to cook and hard to like, poor thing. Personally I am not a big raw kale person, for me its wrong on all departments, it’s hard to chew (yes even when left macerating in lemon juice) difficult to swallow (yes even when massaged to soften) and actually if you think about it there is a reason a Zebra’s tummy looks the way it does, BUT this recipe will convert anyone. The secret ingredient is toasted croutons, crunchy bread, it works every time!
This salad will be good with a selection of other small plates and would make a great side for something lighter like a grilled chicken or whole roasted peppers.
What you'll need:
- 150g kale, ribs removed and leaves roughly chopped
- 3 sticks celery
- 3 tablespoon black olive tapenade OR a handful of pitted black olives
- 200g sourdough bread * cut into chunks
- 3 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 organic lemon, quartered into four wedges
- 3 tablespoon pine nuts
- 3 tablespoons sour cherries (or any other sour dried fruit)
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt & pepper
- Heat the oven to 200c.
- Place the kale and tapenade into a food processor and pulse to smithereens. Taste and add a little more tapenade if you prefer and pulse again.
- For the CROUTONS: put the bread chunks in a big bowl with the garlic, lemon wedges, pine nuts and sour cherries. Drizzle generously with olive oil and toss with your hands to coat, you are looking for a wettish bread mix. Tip out on to a baking tray (leaving the bowl unwashed) in a single layer and roast for 10 minutes or until the bread and pine nuts are golden, check every 5 minutes to make sure nothing is burning. The pine nuts have a tendency to burn!
- While the bread is roasting, finely slice the celery and place in the bowl with the kale mixture.
- Once the bread is golden, take the tray out of the oven and add the kale mixture and the croutons to the bowl, not the lemon wedges.
- When the lemon wedges are cool enough to handle, squeeze the juice over the salad and drizzle some more olive oil and maybe a few pinches of salt. Mix, mix, mix with your hands until the bread soaks up all the magical juices, taste again and add more lemon juice or salt if needed, grind some pepper and transfer to plates.
- Finish with another drizzle of olive oil and a roasted lemon slice to each plate. I love eating roasted lemon skins!
When eating anything raw I tend to always opt to go the organic route – read why here
Kale is in season most year round so a good recipe to try out. There is a few varieties of kale around, for this recipe I opted for the tuscan kale or black kale or cavalo nero depending on where in the world you live.
When I talk about ‘mincing garlic’ what I am referring to is bashing the garlic to a paste where there is no pieces of garlic left, there is two ways of achieving this but the quickest by far is using a mortar and pestle – essential kitchen equipment here