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Kale Peanut Salad

June 27, 2012

JUNE 26th, 2011 — So looking forward to getting back to my food blog after 2 straight quarters of dorm life.

I still like the idea of finding new avenues to capture the feel-good taste of fresh and bright flavors. (How does that accompany your microwave-burrito? Eh?)

This was actually inspired by a lunch I had at work / my internship at Partizan, which caters lunch for the whole office every day. One day, we had lunch from M Café, and one of their sides was kale with a spicy peanut dressing. I thought it was fantastic. Peanuts brighten up the dark leafy green.

Actually, kale is really quite fantastic, because it doesn’t wilt immediately like spinach does, and so it gives your salad a springy, voluminous quality.

So what did you do?

I first finely diced half a yellow onion, sautéed it with some garlic, salt, and pepper, and let it cool. (I add sautéed onions to just about everything.)

Then, I roughly chopped the kale leaves into bite size pieces. There were probably 6 (loosely packed) cups worth of the raw kale.
I decided to blanch the kale very slightly in a pot of semi-boiling water. I didn’t want the kale to be too crunchy and sharp.
Afterwards, I had to drain it and run it under a gently running faucet of cold water to cool it down. And then even after that I dried out the excess water with a paper towel. (No one likes soggy salad.)

I had my friend Minh crush peanuts in a plastic bag. He used the bottom of a glass (you know, in case you don’t have a rolling pin).

For the dijon vinaigrette, I mixed a big spoonful of dijon mustard and added almost an equivalent amount of olive oil. Because the dressing was still pretty thick, even after stirring vigorously, I realized that the best thing to do to brighten the mustard flavor and make the dressing thinner was to add lemon juice. But when the fridge gives you no lemons, you might be forced to use lemonade, which is what I did—just a little.

Toss all the ingredients together and there.

I plated it alongside a pilaf of Israeli couscous and red quinoa.

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