Kale, kale, kale... it's hard to get a salad in Miami these days that doesn't have kale in it... the leaf of the minute! However I find café kale salads hard to eat. The combination of rough leaves, that are too big to get in your mouth, plus the absence of other interesting and "naughty" ingredients just makes eating kale salad like doing penance!
So when I spotted a very textured bunch of Organic Red Stemmed Kale in the Fresh Market earlier in the week I decided to have a go at making my own kale salad. All in all it turned out pretty tasty, mostly because I sliced the leaves down finely, making it easier to chew, plus I added some yummy smokey bacon, charred Brussels sprouts and quail eggs, topping it all off with home-pickled red onions, toasted pine nuts and pumpkin seeds.
bacon & eggs kale salad
1 medium red onion, sliced finely into rounds
0.5 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
180ml Vinegar, (Rice wine/white wine/apple cider)
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled
7 Peppercorns, whole
7 Allspice Berries, whole
1 Chilli, whatever you have in… dried, habanero, jalapeño…
2-3 Quail Eggs, per person
2 Slices Smoked Bacon, per person, sliced into strips
5 small Brussel Sprouts, per person, outer leaves and stalkremoved, sliced in half, lengthwise
2 ribs of Kale, per person, ribs removed, sliced leaves
1 tablespoon Pine Nuts, per person
1 tablespoon Pepitas (roasted, salted and shelled pumpkin seeds), per person
2 Garlic Cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
Herbs, such as basil, parsley, chives, oregano etc, roughly chopped
2 Spring onions, roughly chopped
60ml of Red or White Wine Vinegar
120ml Olive Oil
Boil a kettle of water. Put the onions into a sieve or colander.
Pour the vinegar, salt and sugar into the jar you are using to store the pickled onions. Stir to dissolve. Add the garlic, peppercorns, allspice berries and chilli.
When the kettle has just boiled, pour the water slowly over the onions to blanch them. Put the onions into the jar full of the pickling liquid.
Leave to let the flavors infuse for at least 30 minutes. (Store the unused onions in the fridge)
Put the garlic, herbs, spring onions and vinegar into a food processor and blitz together. Taste and season accordingly. Then with the processor running, dribble in the oil slowly to allow the dressing to emulsify.
Put the eggs into a saucepan of boiling water. Boil for 4 minutes, then drain the hot water out of the saucepan and refill with cold water. Give the eggs a few minutes to cool, then drain the cold water. Put the lid on the saucepan and jiggle the eggs around to break the shells. Peel the eggs, slice in half lengthwiseand put to one side.
bacon & brussels:
Fry the bacon until the fat melts then add the Brussel sprouts. Fry until the bacon crips up slightly and the sprouts have colored and softened. Drain on kitchen roll and put to one side.
Toast the pine nuts in a small saucepan for a few minutes until they take on a golden brown color. Put to one side.
Put the kale in a bowl and toss the leaves with a couple of tablespoons of the salad dressing, just enough to wet the leaves. Arrange the kale in the serving bowl, top with the bacon and Brussels, then the quail eggs, then pickled onions and sprinkle over the pine nuts and pepitas. Serve with the remaining salad dressing on the side.