Thursday, July 12, 2012

Marinated Kale and Chickpea Salad with Sumac Onions

Sunday at the farmers' market I picked up a couple different varieties of extremely tender kale - one of which I had never seen or heard of before - from 5 lbs of Dirt.  The kale was tender enough that I didn't want to cook it, but still hearty enough (because it wasn't baby kale, which cost a whopping $8 per 1/4 lb and if I am brutally honest, my blog and I are not worth $8 per 1/4 lb) that I wanted to wilt it a little bit.  So often when we buy kale we end up braising it or otherwise cooking the bejesus out of it, but I wanted to serve the kale we bought at the market as close to its raw state as possible this time since it was so beautiful and tender.  So I dug through my stash of recipes to find this one, which I came across a few months ago in the midst of a recipe downloading blitz.  I remembered two things from reading the recipe.  First, that it was from a collection of vegan recipes.  Second, that the author of the recipe spent some time talking about wilting kale in dressing, which we have never tried before.  Actually, I guess I remembered a third thing, that the recipe was from Kenji at Serious Eats but that's not really relevant.  Last night we went ahead and "wilted" the kale in dressing.  And it worked out really well.  Actually, the whole recipe worked out really well.  Not only was the kale itself the perfect degree of tender, but the Dijon-based dressing was really nice and the sumac onions were fantastic.  I thought they added a really nice sweetness, flavor and texture to the salad.  It never would have occurred to me to first soak the onions to remove any harshness and then season the raw onions with spices and sesame seeds.  It was kind of a brilliant move if you ask me.  I was actually stealing them out of the bowl while we finished up our entree and eating the onions one by one with my fingers.  I'm like a small child.  But I would like to maintain that unlike a small child I make really good food!

Recipe after the jump!

Marinated Kale and Chickpea Salad with Sumac Onions
Available at Serious Eats

1 bunch kale, tough inner stems discarded, leaves roughly torn (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground sumac (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, grated with a microplane
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas or white beans, drained and rinsed
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine kale leaves with olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Toss until evenly coated. Allow to rest at room temperature until kale is lightly wilted, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, place onions in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to rest for 15 minutes. Rinse in several changes of water then carefully dry with a salad spinner lined with paper towels. Combine onions with sumac and sesame seeds. Season to taste with salt.

Combine lemon juice, garlic, and mustard in a small bowl. Once kale is wilted, toss kale, lemon juice mixture, and chickpeas in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve salad topped with sumac onions.

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