Monday, July 16, 2012
KALE, PEACH, CORN, AND FETA SALAD
Yep, this is totally my Summer of Putting Fruit Everywhere. Strawberries on pizza! Blueberries in corn salad! And now, peaches in kale salad. I’ve gone mad, MAD, I tell you!
I always think of kale as a winter vegetable, but it’s still sporadically available at the farmers’ market, and now that I’ve discovered how much I love it in salad form, I’d been thinking I should look for a summery treatment for it. Then I discovered this recipe from Mostly Foodstuffs. What’s more summery than cilantro, lime, corn, and peaches? And is there anything I love on a salad more than feta? This salad and I were destined for each other.
I followed the recipe exactly, except that I used red wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar, both because I didn’t have sherry vinegar and because red wine vinegar appeared in the original recipe from Last Night’s Dinner. (The original also used lemon instead of lime juice, which I considered, but lime and cilantro are just so right together. However, I’m sure lemon is dandy too, and I’d definitely try it in a pinch.) I also left out the honey, because I don’t typically require sweetness in my dressings and because the original didn’t call for it. And although the recipe doesn’t ask you to, I did cook my corn, because I made the salad midweek but corn is always best the day that you buy it, so if I’m not using it right away I blanch it, cut it off the cob, and store it in a sealed container in the fridge. It’s easier to get off the cob that way, anyway—the kernels only fly about half as far across the counter once cooked. But if I were making this salad right after I’d bought the corn, I’d just use it raw.
My bunch of kale must have been on the small side because I ended up with too much dressing, which wasn’t a huge problem—kale can stand up to levels of flavor and moisture that would wilt more delicate greens—but did overpower the taste somewhat. I ended up having to serve the salad using a slotted spoon to drain away some of the excess dressing, so I’m going to suggest that you make the dressing in a smaller bowl and then pour it gradually over the kale, rather than adding the kale to the dressing. I’m looking out for you! Because really, I’d hate for anything to get in the way of you enjoying this fantastic salad. The tart dressing, bitter greens, salty cheese, and sweet corn and fruit made for an incredibly complex interplay of flavors, and the texture contrasts were no less thrilling—soft and juicy peaches, crisp corn, chewy kale, creamy cheese. Not to mention that it’s totally beautiful. I love discovering new combinations like this, but I know I’ll still love this one long after the novelty wears off.
¼ cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lime (can use a lemon instead)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
A dollop of honey (optional)
½ small red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
1 bunch kale (I like Tuscan), ribs removed, leaves torn into small pieces
About ½ bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob (you can cook the corn or not, whatever you like)
3 peaches, cut into slim wedges
About ¼ cup feta, crumbled
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add a bit of honey if the dressing seems too tart. Add the onion, and let it sit for a few minutes to mellow.
2. In a large bowl, combine the kale and cilantro. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the onion slices out of the dressing and add them to the salad. Gradually add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat the kale well (kale usually takes more dressing than I expect, so taste as you go, but you may not use all the dressing). Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes to an hour so the kale can soften. Scatter the corn, peaches, and feta over the top.
Time: 30 to 60 minutes
Leftover potential: Good; the kale will keep for days in the dressing without wilting, although you may want to leave the peaches out of the salad until you’re ready to eat it, just so they don’t get brown and mushy.