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Grilled Kale Salad with Sweet Shiitake Mushrooms

March 24, 2013

MARCH 22nd, 2013 — The inspiration for this dish was really again from the place that inspired me to try making kale salad in the first place—the macrobiotic M Cafe in Hollywood. When I was a Partizan intern and had this catered for lunch on occasion, we’d get the brown rice sushi platter, of which my favorite piece was the shiitake mushroom rolls, because the mushrooms had this crisp, sweet, pickled taste to them. So I decided to put them atop a salad for a dinner party I hosted.

So what did you do?
For the mushrooms, I rinsed and sliced 3 packs of fresh shiitake mushrooms from Trader Joe’s. I don’t exactly remember the quantity, but it was probably 5-6 cups of loosely packed dry mushrooms. (Mushrooms shrink when cooked.)
Alternatively, you could get roughly 30 medium-sized dried mushrooms and soak them in water until they’re plump.
I brought the following to a boil:
-1.5 cup water
-1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
-6 tsp sugar
When I dumped all the mushrooms in, I lowered the heat to a simmer and let it cook really slowly until the mushrooms were cooked thoroughly and soft.

For the kale, I tore the leaves off 12 large leaves of kale and tossed them into a wok sprayed with PAM. I [kinda dangerously] tossed the kale leaves lightly around with my hands in the pan so that all of them could get a good sear here and there.
To that, I added some salt and pepper.

Kale & Shiitake SaladFor a simple dressing, I mixed:
-1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1/4 cup olive oil
-dried dill
-salt & pepper

And voila! If I had more time and energy to devote to just this salad, I would have loved to chop some carrots to put on top, as well as some sprouts, to add crunch and texture. (Apparently these days sprouts are on recall.)

But the mushrooms were damn good. I’d put that in fried rice any time.

Lessons learned?
I would have added some more sugar to the shiitake mushrooms. Honey or some other liquid sweetener would probably be even better, though I didn’t have any on hand.
I also learned that this method of cooking kale is super fast and efficient, and uses minimal oil. It also keeps the kale a lot crunchier than blanching does.

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