Hye Thyme Cafe: Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Currants

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Currants

Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Currants: Hye Thyme Cafe

Have you ever been shopping at World Market? We don't have one in our area, but I love that place. It's a great way to buy small sizes of products you haven't tried before, etc. That's what makes this post kind of crazy - I had a small bottle of pomegranate balsamic vinegar from World Market, and with the recent hoopla over romaine lettuce, I decided to make a kale salad for dinner one night and figured it was time to try out the balsamic. The problem was that when I tried the dressing, it tasted bitter to me. I increased the honey, but that didn't help, and it was very thick, despite using a 2:1 ratio of oil/vinegar, when the standard is 3:1 for a vinaigrette. I did like it when everything was mixed together (love the salad mix despite the dressing), but I didn't want to post a dressing I didn't like on its own, so I made the salad again the following week with a different mix - it still tasted bitter to me. 

When I started making the dressing the second time, I remembered that the first time, my little bullet blender was on the counter, so I made it in that. It occurred to me that the problem may have been adding the garlic in the blender rather than mincing it and adding it separately - I usually just whisk my dressings. When I tried it and it still tasted bitter, it dawned on me that I have a thyroid condition that sometimes exacerbates sour/bitter notes or leaves me with a metallic taste in my mouth, so in this case, it could very well be me!  

Sooooo, you may or may not want to try the (either) dressing. Another thought I had was that strawberries would make a nice addition to this salad, so maybe some sort of strawberry vinaigrette. Also, when making it the second time, I switched from the pomegranate vinegar to white wine vinegar and pomegranate juice. I don't happen to like eating pomegranate arils in a salad, because I don't like the seeds, but if you go that way, you might want to use a whole pomegranate, juice some of it for the dressing, then use the rest of the arils for garnish.

Roughly 1 lb kale (I used a bag of pre-washed chopped)
1/2 c pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/3 c currants
1/2 sm red onion, thinly sliced
1 mini cucumber, thinly sliced
(Optional - add sliced chicken to make it a heartier meal)

1/2 c Olive Oil
1/4 c Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar
1 t Dijon Mustard
1 T Honey
1 Small Clove Garlic
1/4 t each Salt, Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper

1/2 c Olive Oil
1/4 c White Wine Vinegar
3 T Pomegranate Juice
1 t Dijon Mustard
1 t Honey
1 Small Clove Garlic
1/4 t each Salt, Pepper, Crushed Red Pepper

  1. Whisk together your dressing ingredients first, to give the flavors a chance to blend.
  2. Add your kale to a large bowl. It might be overflowing at first, so just fit what you can, and add more as you go along.  If you're starting from whole bunches of kale, wash well, trim the large stems, and chop.
  3. Pour about 1T of the dressing over the kale and massage/knead for a good 3-4 minutes, to soften the kale and bring out its sweetness, adding more kale as there is room for it.  Remove any pieces of stem that pop up.
  4. Over medium heat in a dry pan, lightly toast your pine nuts, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Likewise, immediately remove from pan once toasted, to stop the cooking process.
  5. Thin slice the onion and cucumber, then toss the onion, cucumber, and most of the pine nuts and currants with the kale, reserving some of each for garnish. If you're currants have been in the pantry for a while and have dried out, cover with hot water and let sit for about 10" to plump up, then drain the water.
  6. Transfer the salad to a serving platter and top with shaved Parmesan and the reserved pine nuts and currants.
Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Currants: Hye Thyme Cafe

Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Currants: Hye Thyme Cafe

Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Currants: Hye Thyme Cafe

Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Currants: Hye Thyme Cafe

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