Tuesday, August 27, 2013

You will love this salad.

No really: This salad will become your favorite salad, just as it has become my favorite salad. There's kale (good), Brussels sprouts (very good), some soba noodles (mmmmm), and a little spice (yes, please). And as if that weren't enough, kale is now in season, and we'll soon start to see Brussels sprouts making an appearance at the farmer's market, too. Talk about some mighty good timing. 
It was Jon's cousin Robin that first introduced me to this salad. She found the recipe here (which was slightly adapted from here), and once I saw how easy it was to throw together, I've been making it for my little family at least once every ten dinners or so. I've even tweaked the recipe a bit myself, adding more sprouts and more dressing, as I've found the soba noodles can be super absorbent. This salad pairs very well with grilled pork or chicken, or it can totally stand on it's own. Actually, I made this salad just this past weekend for my grandmother's birthday party and--poof!--it was devoured. I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't a little disappointed there weren't any leftovers; because the kale and Brussels sprouts aren't cooked, it keeps beautifully for lunch the next day. 

Have I convinced you yet? Are you ready for that recipe now?? OK ...

- 1 bunch kale, stems and core removed
- 5 T sesame oil
- salt, to taste
- 1 bag Brussels sprouts (about 15-20), outer leaves removed
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 2 T rice vinegar
- 1 T ume plum vinegar
- 1 T low-sodium soy sauce
- 8 oz. soba noodles
- 3 T sesame seeds (I used white)
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Directions: Working in batches with the kale, stack the leaves and thinly slice them into ribbons. Place the ribbons in a large bowl and, using your hands, toss them with 2 T of the sesame oil and a pinch or two of salt. (The sesame oil really turns the kale a beautiful green. Just try and resist a nibble.) Next, remove all the funky outer leaves of the Brussels sprouts and rinse them. Holding them by the stem, slice them from top to core, discarding the core. You should end up with a little shy of two cups of sliced sprouts. Add them to the kale and toss. 
Next, make the dressing: Mince the garlic and put it in in a small bowl. Whisk in the remaining sesame oil, both vinegars, and the soy sauce. (If you don't have ume plume vinegar, don't go crazy running yourself to the store. Just throw in some more rice vinegar.) Pour the vinaigrette over the greens and toss. Place the greens in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the soba noodles according to the package instructions. After boiling the noodles, be sure to drain them very well, so as not to make your greens soggy. Toss the soba noodles and the remaining ingredients into the large bowl and serve.
So there you have it: the secrets to my favorite salad. So go march yourself to the market and then thank me when you've taken your first bite :) Happy eating.