Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nature's Treasures Salad

"Have you guys seen Tammy's garden behind her restaurant?" I asked Shari and Don of Heinel farms.

"Yes she is growing our kale!!" Shari said, excitedly. "I gave her some to plant over there" Don chimed in "How is it doing?"

"Beautiful" I answered, recalling the prehistoric looking mass of rich green kale leaves growing unruly in the back corner of the parking lot. It stuck out oddly in the gravel parking lot, like seaweed growing in the middle of a desert. Tammy had given me a bouquet of kale to take home, and I recalled how the flat crinkly leaves dwarfed the refrigerator crisper. I scanned Heinel's table, and noticed that they had an impressive and diverse array of, not only kale, but also other exotic members of the cabbage family. They had orange cauliflower, and green, spiky romanesco.

I took a moment to express my love for the delicious crunch of romanesco, and Shari told me that romanesco is a natural example of a fractal. In case you have forgotten your high school math (or, as in my case, had difficulty paying attention in high school) a fractal is a geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is a miniature version of the whole. See yesterday's post for a delightful salad featuring this bizarre vegetable, which, when cooked on it's own, tastes like a buttery cauliflower.
To my knowledge, today's salad is not an example of a fractal, but it did inspire awe in me this morning, much in the same way as the romanesco. Parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, and potatoes, when freshly dug, are like sweet little jewels buried in the ground. Fire polishes them and enhances their sweetness, and oil brings about their shine. Salt hardens them to crisp little morsels, and kale livens them with color.

Nature's Treasures Salad
Boil a pot of water. Add:
2 small/medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small/medium rutabaga, peeled and cubed
1 small/medium turnip, peeled and cubed
Cook for 10 min or until just tender.

Rinse and chop 1 bunch kale.
mince 3 cloves garlic
heat a frying pan and add 2 Tbsp olive oil, kale, and garlic. saute for about 3 min, then add drained root vegetable mixture.
season with salt
add 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
cook until kale is desired texture and color

add 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar,
1/4 Tbsp lemon juice (and zest) and 1/4 Tbsp brown rice vinegar
1/4 Tbsp ume plum vinegar

Christina's vote: "This salad made me believe in the pot of gold at the end of rainbows."

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