This is the year I made only one resolution; start a blog. And it’s complete. Other than that, I made no promises. I won’t feel bad for snagging See’s Chocolate from the HR office; I won’t feel terrible when I notice my Bosu ball is collecting dust; and I won’t feel guilty if I dip out of work a few minutes early on Friday to make Happy Hour. Instead, this is the year I do what my heart desires. And right now, my heart desires kale salad.
This isn’t a salad for the sake of eating salad. It’s easy, pretty and; yes, healthy too. Raw kale is more on the bitter side, so it pairs real well with something sweet. Cue the citrus. I couldn’t keep my hands off all the seasonal orange varieties at the market; and toasted hazelnuts add the perfect crunch. I ate this with some baguette smeared with goat cheese (heart was desiring this too) for a light winter supper. Enjoy!
You can use any kind of Kale for the salad, but I love the appearance, texture and taste of Tuscan kale which is what I used here. Begin by tearing the leaves from the tough stems.
Once completed, chop your leaves lengthwise into bite sized pieces.
You can use any kind of seasonal citrus for this salad. I was originally looking for blood oranges but found Cara Cara Navel and Tangelo Oranges instead. Love.
You will need to thoroughly wash and zest one of the oranges first. Set this aside to use in the dressing later. There are lots of good tutorials for peeling and segmenting oranges online. I personally liked this one. You basically need a sharp knife and massive juicy mess preparation.
You will need to cut each orange slice out of the white and not-so-tasty segment, like so.
Squeeze out the discarded segments and reserve the juices for the dressing.
Whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, reserved orange juices and zest. Add salt and pepper to taste and pour over the kale leaves.
This next part is key. Massage the dressing into the kale for a minute or two. Use your hands and don’t be afraid. Get in there and tenderize. Add the orange segments and let it rest for at least 30 minutes to soak up the juices and soften. If you skip this step, the kale will be tough and not very appetizing.
While you wait, toast your hazelnuts in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Removing the skins from hazelnuts is a pain in the butt, but necessary. I have yet to find an easier way to do it. After 10 to 12 minutes in the oven, remove hazelnuts and pour into the middle of kitchen towel. Fold the kitchen towel over and rub the hazelnuts together. The skins will start peeling off and create a total mess. Like I said, pain in the butt, yet necessary. Not all the skins will peel off, but that’s okay. Coarsely chop the nuts and add to the kale once it’s softened.
It’s not a resolution, but it’s a damn good salad.
Kale Salad with Seasonal Citrus and Hazelnuts
- 1 bunch Tuscan Kale or alternative variety; washed, stems removed and chopped
- 3 Oranges of any variety, peeled and cut into segments
- 1 tsp Orange Zest
- 2 tbsp Juice from Oranges
- 2 tbsp Golden Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup Hazelnuts; toasted, skins removed, and chopped
Place kale into a large bowl and set aside. Whisk extra virgin olive oil, golden balsamic vinegar, orange juices, zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
Pour citrus vinaigrette over kale and massage into the kale leaves for 1-2 minutes. Add orange segments and toss. Let the kale sit for about 30 minutes to absorb the juices and soften.
Add toasted hazelnuts to the salad, toss once more and serve.