Saturday, May 26, 2012

Pot Luck Kale Salad

It used to be way back in the 50's, 60's and early 70's that you were invited to dinner party and all you had to think about was arriving on time, or at least tastefully tardy. Then the late 70's and early 80's hit. Baby boomers were hosting dinner parties, the job market was poor, and guests were asked (expected) to bring a dish. The up-front hostess called it a pot luck, the rest (the majority) simply gave everyone an assignment and set the table.

I was okay with that for a while. There was always a recipe I wanted to try out or show off. But, as the years have progressed I have become a bit more territorial over my menus. I want everything to flow, from appetizer to dessert, carrying an ethnic theme or flavor palate across the meal. If a guest of mine asks what to bring, I say "yourself and some table talk."

Oh yes, there are still times when the pot luck is best : the neighborhood party, the book group gathering, or the 20 something gathering.  If you are invited to any of these, here is a flavorful addition to the table (or your dinner table at home):

Kale Salad with PineNuts, Craisins and Cheese (6-8 side servings)

2 T craisins
7 T White Balsamic Vinegar, divided
1T unseasoned rice vinegar
1T honey
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1t sea salt
1 lb Kale, center ribs and stems removed, leave slices crosswise (Tuscan Kale is best)
2 T pine nuts, lightly toasted
Parmesan Cheese Shavings or 1/2 cup crumbled Ricotta Salata

Soak craisins in 5 T white balsamic vinegar for 6-8 hours. Drain

Whisk 2 T white balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, honey, oil and salt in small bowl.
Place Kale, Craisins, and Pine Nuts in large bowl.
Add 1/2 dressing, massage salad (with your hands or a tongs) every 5 minutes for 20 minutes.*

Add more dressing and salt and pepper to taste.
Add cheese just before serving.

*Massage is essential to a tender salad