Friday, January 15, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower and Kale Salad

The dead of winter is no excuse not to eat awesome salads! Winter salads are often just a little different than what we think of as standard salads. To feel warm and full in cold weather, not everyone can graze on raw stuff and be satisfied. Here is a recipe that uses roasted veggies to mellow things out and wilt the otherwise raw kale. This is a great vegetarian entree or addition to a simple roasted fish fillet or piece of meat.

Roasted Cauliflower and Kale Salad
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 t sesame oil
1 t minced garlic
1/2 t sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into medium/large florets
healthy dash of sweet paprika

1 bunch of kale (green, purple, lacinato are all okay)
12-14 sun-dried tomatoes (the hydrated kind in a jar or antipasto-style)*
1/2 cup pine nuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add cauliflower florets to the bowl and toss together with clean hands until cauliflower is well coated.

Transfer to a baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Add a healthy dash of paprika to the cauliflower. Roast, uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Check it occasionally near the end. You want the cauliflower to be roasted, tender, and lightly browned, but not shriveled and burnt. You can toss it with a spatula halfway through for even roasting, if you like.

Tear kale in "salad-sized" pieces or chop roughly with a knife. Immerse in a large bowl of water and swirl around. Let rest for two minutes while dirt and debris fall to the bottom of the bowl. Remove the floating kale from the water without mixing the dirt back in and transfer to a salad spinner if you have one or a colander. Spin greens or let drip dry. Transfer to a large salad bowl.

When cauliflower is done roasting, transfer onto kale while still hot. Toss together, adding an extra splash of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

Slice the sun-dried tomatoes into thin strips and sprinkle on top of the mixture.
While kale wilts from the hot cauliflower and dressing, place pine nuts in a small pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they begin to toast and become fragrant. Sprinkle over salad immediately (or transfer to a cool bowl, if you aren't serving right away).

Serve with warm, crusty bread.

*To use the dry, un-hydrated kind, you must soak for 10-15 minutes in warm water, then drain.

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