February 24, 2012

kale salad (that's surprisingly delicious)

My garde manger team consists of 7 people. First up for us, compound salads. In one 3-hour class period we had to turn out two compound salads. So we split up into two teams. My team did a kale salad, recipe here (courtesy of Chrissy).

The salad consisted of kale, strips of purple cabbage and granny smith apples, pancetta bits, candied pecans, shaved parmesean (we didn't have pecorino) and chive. I was responsible for the pecans, which involved a different candying method than what I did for PCR salad station last semester. Back then I had to candy walnuts, and that involved tossing walnuts in a butter/brown sugar/honey mixture. This time I wet the pecans, then tossed it in a confectioner's sugar mixture. The coating on this was a lot lighter - guess it really depends on what you like.

kale salad mise-en-place

I also grated the parmesean with a microplane grater - which made it very light and fluffy. Reminded someone of dandruff when sprinkled... but um, it tasted like heaven.

mixing kale salad

The originally involved pancetta grease, but the grease became little globules of fat and broke up the dressing (might have had to do with the caper brine), so Jason made an orange vinaigrette.

To fancy it up I decorated the bowl with kale and cabbage leaves:

kale apple salad

Only too late did I realize that the salad we made wasn't actually a compound salad because it had greens. It's okay though, the other half of the team made a grain and bean salad from the CIA Garde Manger book, which legitimized us.

grain and bean compound salad

However, despite being a faux pas, the kale salad tasted great. I was worried about the kale being bitter and too hard in texture (considered blanching it), but the vinaigrette really softened it up and took out the bitterness. Consider making it the next time you want a crunchy (think cole slaw) type salad that's diverse in flavor and extra good for you. People just don't eat kale enough and this salad could change things.

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