Mediterranean kale salad is a delicious, healthy, meatless salad, filled with pine nuts, cherry tomatoes and cheese.
I know I don’t have nice hands. I can count on one, the number of times I’ve put polish on in the last 20 years, because I use them too much. They are tools. I use them to dig in the garden without gloves, dirt under my nails. They are often paint stained. Sometimes they’re rough from sewing. I’ve had stitches, butterflies and burns.
The knife is an extension of the hand and when all cylinders are firing, the knife and hand work in unison. It seems an easy task, cutting, but using a knife properly, is not as easy as it seems. I let my kids start “chopping” in the kitchen when they were about 4. I gave them one of those “cuts through cola cans, but not fingers” knives, holding their hands to show them how to cut. Then, I showed them how to cut an onion, how to curl their fingers so as not to chop the tips of the fingers off, how to keep the tip of the knife on the cutting board and roll the knife.
And then slowly, I released them, just as I do as a teacher, and let them cut on their own. Then they graduated to “real” knives, the sharper the better. And now, I feel confident that they can pull any knife out of the drawer and use it properly.
Your hands are your best tool. Use them to toss, to knead, to fold and feel your food.
For this post I thought of Kara, my cousin’s wife. My 16 year old, Emma and I, visited them in Chicago this summer. The first night Kara made a kale salad, which I had heard of, but never tasted. She massaged the leaves, which we giggled about, and then finished the salad.
So, here is a Mediterranean Kale Salad I created, in honor of Kara….you supply the giggles!
- 2 bunches of kale center ribs removed, sliced thinly
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- handful of toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 or however much you want thinly sliced red onion
- juice of one lemon
- 4-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- salt and pepper
- red pepper flakes start out with a little, add more if you like.
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese I use a combination of finely grated and coarsely grated cheese.
- Whisk lemon juice, oil, garlic and seasonings in a small bowl. Toss dressing on the kale and massage into the leaves for a couple of minutes to soften them.
- Toss in remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings.