With All the Best of Intentions

I have been meaning to try kale, raw, in a salad for quite some time now. Ever since I read about it in Tara's blog. But I've hemmed and hawed about it: you see, I am not the biggest fan of kale. There, I've said it out loud. Don't get me wrong, I eat as much kale as I can get, and I actually really enjoy its flavour and texture. It's just that it doesn't always agree with me. Sometimes I think it's because it's so chock full of goodness that my body won't have any of it - I do so like to tuck into a plate of fries every now and then...

So I've pushed the recipes to the back of my mind. And I nearly forgot about the whole idea until this week, when two recipes popped up in the blogosphere: here (Tara, again) and here (a different Tara). It was a sign. I especially like the sound of the second recipe since it called for a miso dressing not unlike the one I posted a few years ago. But I have a few tricks up my sleeve for my first attempt at making a kale salad... Harisa, or at least a tame version of the fiery Moroccan chile paste, is lovely with chick peas (and kale, as it would be.)

Kale and Chickpea Salad with a Hint of Morocco
For four as a side, or two as a main

240g/1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 small bunch kale
½ yellow pepper
½ orange pepper
3 green onions
1 clove of garlic
2 sun-dried tomato halves
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
2 Tbs tomato paste
½ chile 
1 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
½ tsp whole fennel seeds
½ tsp whole coriander seeds
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs white sesame seeds
2 Tbs pumpkin seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in the vinegar.
In a dry frying pan, toast the sesame seeds until golden. Pour into a cold bowl, and set aside. 
Toast the pumpkin seeds until they start to pop. Set aside.
Toast the cumin, fennel and coriander seeds until they become fragrant and browned. Mix in with the sun-dried tomatoes.
With a blender, purée the tomatoes, paste, spices, chile, garlic and olive oil until smooth. Stir in the paprika and season to taste. Pour into a salad bowl.
Finely sliver the green onions, and add to the harisa.
Chop the peppers into small dice, about the same size as the chickpeas. Mix into the dressing.
Remove the stalks from the kale, and chop: it can be as fine or as rough as you like. Add to the bowl, along with the chickpeas, the sesame and pumpkin seeds.
Mix until everything is thoroughly coated with the harisa, and taste for seasoning.

You can always substitute the dressing with some ready-made harisa, a generous dollop of sun-dried tomato pesto, and a dash of white wine vinegar. This salad can be served immediately, but kale is sturdy enough to hold for a few hours, or even a day or two, and the flavours will mellow out beautifully. Because the dressing is so thick, you can easily transport the salad with very little mess: it is ideal for packed lunches and picnics. And wouldn't you know it, it turns out that kale is even nicer raw than it is cooked!

Bon app'!


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