Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Week 8 - two marinated salads

Well, I once again missed the deadline to order produce from the CSA this week. But I took this opportunity to shop at the farmer's market near my workplace, where a neighborhood farm was selling the most adorable and perfectly-round cherry tomatoes that I couldn't ignore. The kale at the co-op also looked great and cheap (and, ok, the reason I really went there was to buy mozzarella cheese). I've never gotten on the raw kale salad bandwagon, even though I'm a huge fan of eating vegetables raw when all of your human nature and inclination would tell you to cook them (raw beet salad? yes! cabbage in everything? yes! shaved asparagus? (isn't there a better way to refer to this? but) yes!)

So this marinated kale salad is for those of you out there who are all like:

whenever somebody mentions raw kale salad.

I'm excited about both recipes because there's no massaging of kale involved (no, I don't want to rub my fingers all over the food I'm about to eat or possibly serve to others, thank you) and both use marinating to improve the flavor. This also solves a few issues I sometimes have with salad, which is that it generally can't be made in advance and stored, and that even on days when I'm being good and craving a salad, the prospect of washing, spinning, chopping, etc. seems daunting. But now! Just reach in to the fridge and scoop out two tasty helpings of salad, pack them up for work, and enjoy!

Marinated tomato, basil, mozzarella and chickpea salad:

This is a take on the caprese salad, but the ratio is very heavily skewed toward chickpeas for some more protein and to make this into a more substantial, meal-type salad. If you double the amount of tomatoes and mozzarella or halve the amount of chickpeas, that would bring everything back into balance. (If you're doubling tomatoes and cheese, though, double the amount of dressing as well). Of course you can eat this salad without marinating it, but it's seriously a 100% improvement if you wait.

-1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, or about 2 C of chopped/mixed other kinds of tomatoes
-1 small shallot
-4 oz fresh mozzarella (watch this carefully, in my experience fresh mozz often comes in 8 oz portions. Not that too much cheese would be that big of a problem...)
-1 25 oz can of chickpea, or ~2.5 C
-handful of basil leaves (enough to fill 1/4 C sliced)
-1/2 tsp coarse salt
-1/4 C olive oil
-2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
-black pepper to taste 

Rinse and slice tomatoes into halves or quarters, depending on their size, so that they're bite sized. Try to slice along the core of the tomato (down the middle), so that all the "guts" stay in place. Peel and slice shallot in half, and then into very thin half-moon slices. Slice cheese into cubes, roughly the same size as your tomatoes. Chop basil leaves into thin ribbons -- the easiest way to do this is to stack the leaves, roll them up on the long side into a thick roll, and slice perpendicularly with a sharp knife. Open the chickpeas and drain and rinse very thoroughly. Add everything to a large bowl or Tupperware where you'll be marinating the salad. Combine remaining ingredients in another bowl and whisk to emulsify/combine. Taste to see if the salt and acidity is right. Err on the side of more oily and more salty. Pour dressing over the tomato mixture in the bowl, stir gently to combine and cover and refrigerate for at least a few hours, keeps for several days. Bring back to near room temperature before eating, because sometimes the olive oil can solidify in the fridge a bit.

Marinated kale salad:

This is more a technique idea than a singular recipe. You can easily do this with whatever dressing combo you like. I will say that if you want any add ins that would get mushy or weird if stored in the salad (croutons, nuts, seeds, cheese etc) you should not include those in the marinade and just top the salad as you serve it. Fresh or dried fruit or cooked beans should be fine though.

-1 bunch kale, any type
-about 1/2 C of your favorite dressing. I use my Dijon vinaigrette from this post

Chop kale into ribbons as thin as you can get them, removing the leaves from the stems if the stems are tough. Rinse and drain well. Pour dressing into the bottom of a Tupperware or bowl or large mason type jar with tight-fitting lid (make sure the container is large enough for all of your kale). Add kale to the Tupperware and seal. Turn upside down so that the dressing collects on the lid, then turn right-side up. Shake the Tupperware a bit so that the dressing gets distributed evenly. Refrigerate for at least a few hours, keeps well for a few days. It's a good idea to remove the Tupperware and shake or stir every once in a while so it marinates evenly.

Once again, stir and bring this to room temperature before serving because olive oil may separate or solidify a bit in the fridge.

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