Do you ever have a salad that just leaves you speechless because it is so delicious? It is rare, but every once in a while it happens. The last encounter I had with this experience was at my book club a few weeks ago at Ellen’s house. I belong to a wonderful book club with eight other ladies who love reading great books and cooking.
We meet about every six weeks on average, sometimes a little longer or a little shorter. There is a rotation among the different houses along with each hostess presenting a masterpiece from their kitchen. You may think that a masterpiece is something that each person has spent hours slaving in the kitchen, but quite often that is not the case. Just like the saying goes – sometimes the simplest things in life are the best.
This stands true for our last meeting at Ellen’s house with the Kale Salad. Her daughter loves finding new food blogs that intrigue her. One of her favorites is – Spoon Fork Bacon from Jenny and Teri. (I have now added it to my favorites list.) She found a recipe for Blood Orange and Kale Salad which Ellen made for our book club dinner. Believe it or not, Kale has not been in my repertoire for cooking, but now it is definitely here to stay in my bag of tricks.
With my mouth still watering and my mind reminiscing about this divine delight, I knew that I could not hold out much longer and had to make it pronto. I had picked up some lovely kale from the farmers market in the morning and set up to make this salad for lunch yesterday. Since blood oranges are next to impossible to find now, I opted for Cara Cara Oranges which have hints of cherry, rose petal and blackberry notes.
Along with changing the varietals of oranges, I used manchego cheese, dry roasted and salted almonds and champagne vinegar. The combination of the earthy kale, crunchy and salty almonds, sweet oranges and tangy cheese was absolutely satisfying and not too mention the supreme vinaigrette.
Just in case you are wondering, we are now reading The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Differbaugh. Enjoy this salad and I promise you will make this over and over again.
Cara Cara Orange and Kale Salad
Adapted from here
½ shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T. honey
1 t. Dijon mustard
3 T. champagne vinegar
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Pour and place all ingredients into a mason jar and shake well. Let sit at least one hour for flavors to develop.
5 to 6 C. kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
3 Cara Cara oranges, cut in half and segments removed
½ C. Almonds, dry roasted and salted, rough chop
½ C. Manchego cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl and add half the vinaigrette and toss well. Taste and add more dressing if desired. If you like additional cheese or almonds, feel free to add those along with oranges. Enjoy!