I know we’re barely into September, but it feels autumnal to me. The light is dwindling by a few minutes a day. When the sun is out, the evenings have that slanted light ambiance, as though a movie has just finished, but you are like, outside. My kids keep asking me, “What’s happening?” And it’s really mind blowing to me that they haven’t been on the planet long enough to remember, or record this change. I swear to God I’m okay with this seasonal ending.
We had such a good summer, such an outdoor summer, such an unstructured summer where play bled into outdoor dinners–that I am happy to walk into this different world again. It’s a little more somber, and a little more internal and serious…but that’s okay, right? What goes up, must come down. What goes bright, must dim, otherwise the planet will burst and we will all become these unanchored people.
If you have been in the supermarket lately, you see the difference in the seasons in the produce section. The fruit, once so bright and firm just two weeks before, is looking a little shrunken. But the green things have this rich floral, vegetable depth. Green beans, chard and kale are sitting high in piles the leaves large and fern like, like forrest fauna you see on the hiking trails in the Cascades.
Since we’re in transitions (back to school, back to work, back to fall-like sports, etc) I’m feeling this inkling to cook green. Since I am always trying coax my children into eating green, I’m playing again. Greens with olive oil and salt, or greens with garlic, olive oil and salt.
Since my kids will eat roasted kale, or kale chips, I wanted to play with this. Here’s what came out of it. One ate it, one wasn’t so sure, but all of the adults were happy.
Roasted Kale Salad with Yummy Orange Dressing….
Time: How fast are you? I made this in about 30 minutes. If you read the whole recipe and look at visual cues I think you can do this in under 30 minutes. As I did this, I roasted some chicken breasts. So it all happened at simultaneously.
1.5 bunches of kale. There are couple of different varieties of kale. I have used both the curly versions and the version with the taller, straighter leaves.
Extra virgin olive oil, 4 tablespoons and maybe a little more
1 can garbanzo beans (organic, if possible)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1 yellow onion, sliced
Rinse your kale vigorously under the faucet. You can use a salad spinner for this. Matter of fact, I would advise that, since if you are shopping at the farmers market you may have a very muddy bunch of kale, or worse, little creatures attached. (Creatures, in general, can spook a salad eater for a good long time.)
Dry your kale on either clean kitchen towels, or paper kitchen towels. Rip the kale off the stalk and into bitable pieces, much as you would do for lettuce, though not too small. Toss the leaves with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt to taste. Put your kale on a roasting pan or baking sheet and roast the kale in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. You want to check your kale periodically, as the kale on the edges of the baking sheet will brown faster than the kale in the middle. I do this at a lower temperature than many people because I feel as though it buys you time, and allows you to nurse kale into crispy green, instead of crispy burnt.
Once kale is finished, you can eat as is–these are the kale chips you keep hearing about. But remember, your salad, so set the kale aside to cool.
Rinse and drain your beans, you will only use half the can. If you would like to use the whole can, you may of course, but the beans make a larger statement in your salad. It will be Kale and Garbanzo bean salad. (Good for South Bean dieters!)
Slice your yellow onion, and then saute the pieces in a heavy-bottomed skillet, or casserole dish. You want the onions to sweat and collapse a little, to develop some sweetness. Season your onions with salt, to taste, and you will notice how they develop a complexity of flavor. Set these aside.
Cut your baby tomatoes, in halves, and set aside.
Now you have all the ingredients in little bowls. Here is your chance to make a nice, tasty and appealing salad. Since I was mindful of how I wanted this to look, I choose a very flat dish where the pieces of the different vegetables would be showcased.
So, here’s the kale. Next, I tossed in a handful of the garbanzo beans. The tomatoes, and then I tossed in the roasted onion. So this salad look really good, and has all of these textures and flavors. What sort of salad dressing? I wanted something really light, that would not overpower the individual components, but would bring the components together. I also felt, like with the depth of the roasted kale, a citrus note might be nice.
The Orange Dressing
3 Tablespoons fresh orange juice, squeezed from your orange. If you don’t have fresh orange, don’t substitute orange juice from the carton. Instead, use two tablespoons white vinegar with one tablespoon orange juice.
1 teaspoon Maille’s Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon spoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, drizzle this in. The ingredients don’t have to emulsify. So stir this all together and drizzle this gingerly over your whole salad.
This dressing is meant to complement the salad, not drown it. If you are a salad dressing person you might double the recipe. Does keep in the fridge for 3 days. Also very good over white fish.
This salad is best right away, or served and consumed within two hours so the textures are all as they were intended to be. If you want to make this ahead of time, you can prepare everything but the kale ahead of time and store in the fridge. Roast the kale up to two hours ahead, and throw the whole thing together.