Confetti salad of kale and rhubarb
Prep time: 1 hour, plus at least 3 hours for pickles to sit
Cook time: 15 minutes (for walnuts)
This salad is gorgeous, but it also makes you feel like a superhero with all of its vitamins. Lacinato kale a dark- green variety often called dinosaur kale provides the best color contrast for the ruby bits of rhubarb and golden batons of cheese.
The liquid from the pickled rhubarb helps make the vinaigrette. Prepare the rhubarb at least three hours before serving.
From "Rhubarb Renaissance" by Kim Ode (Minnesota Historical Society Press, $16.95, 120 pages).
1 cup rhubarb, cut in 1/4-inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds Salad:
1 bunch (12 to 15 leaves) lacinato kale
3 tablespoons pickling liquid from rhubarb
3 tablespoons walnut oil
Hefty pinch salt
Several grinds pepper
4 ounces aged Gouda, cut in fat matchsticks (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, preferably sourdough
1/2 cup candied walnuts (see below), roughly chopped
To make pickled rhubarb: Place rhubarb in a shallow heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and mustard seeds, and bring to a boil; cook until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture over the rhubarb and let sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours before using. The pickles' flavor improves if refrigerated overnight. Any leftover pickling liquid can be refrigerated for future use.
To make salad: Remove center rib from kale leaves, stack several pieces, then slice crosswise into a fine julienne. You should end up with about 5 cups. Rinse kale and pat dry between paper towels or use a salad spinner.
Whisk together pickling liquid and walnut oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss kale with dressing, then gently fold in the cheese and drained rhubarb. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so the kale softens a bit; it can chill for up to 3 hours.
Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, then add bread crumbs, stirring to coat. Cook, stirring, until crumbs are golden and crisp. Set aside.
Before serving, toss salad again, add bread crumbs and walnuts, and toss once more.
To make candied walnuts: Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set aside. Combine 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add 1 cup walnut halves and continue to stir for about 5 minutes, until mixture begins to thicken. Pour out onto parchment paper, separating walnuts with a fork. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.
Per serving: 310 calories; 20g fat (6g sat.) ; 430 mg sodium; 26g carb.; 270 mg calcium; 9 g protein; 27 mg chol.; 3 g fiber