Kale is a magnificent vegetable in the kitchen garden: tall, stately plants with serrated, crinkled or feathery leaves and eye-popping colors of blue-green, purple, red, pale green, white and yellow. The darling of food nutritionists, kale packs a whale of health benefits including Vitamins A, C & K, plus antioxidants and fiber.
Although the flavor of kale; bright, almost sweet and spicy, with earthy or minerally overtones is delicious, most folks can’t get beyond the first “chew”, particularly in salads. It wasn’t until Amanda Provencher of King Hill Farm in Penobscot taught me how to make a good kale salad that our family actually started to enjoy kale.
“Massage the leaves thoroughly with oil”, advises Amanda. “It’s easier to eat and digest”. Although tentative at first, I’ve learned that a good massage does the trick, and everyone loves the flavors of a hearty kale salad.
A visit to our local farmer’s market inspired the recipe for Balsamic Kale and Wild Blueberry Salad. How can anyone resist the bunches of fragrant herbs, scallions and garlic scapes, local, artisan cheeses, and beautiful bouquets of kale? Plus now that the wild blueberry season is just starting, it’s a good time to go wild!
This recipe is merely just a guide, but contains the basics of a good, dessert-type salad: greens, fruit, cheese, and nuts. Instead of preparing a dressing, I tossed the salad with rich, almost sweet balsamic vinegar. We particularly enjoy Fiore’s Blackberry Ginger Balsamic vinegar. Not sweet enough for your palate? Try a sprinkle of Maine maple syrup. Be creative and try varying the nuts, herbs and cheese.
Balsamic Kale and Wild Blueberry Salad is the latest farm-to-table creation on the summer menu here at Rabbit Hill farm. In addition to the customary boiled lobster, our visiting friends and families will be treated to the artistic beauty and nutritional benefits of the wonderful, versatile, attractive, non-heading member of the cabbage family, kale.
Balsamic Kale and Wild Blueberry Salad
- 1 large bunch kale
- 1 bunch fresh leafy herbs (basil, mint)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup chopped garlic scapes red onion or scallion
- ¼ cup toasted almonds
- 2 ounces feta cheese blue cheese, soft goat cheese
- ½ cup wild blueberries fresh or frozen
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt and fresh pepper
- Edible flowers for garnish nasturtium, lily, pansy, herb blossoms
- Assemble ingredients and tools.
- Rip the leaves off the kale stems into a large bowl. Rip the herb leaves into smaller pieces.
- Sprinkle the olive oil over the leaves, and using your hands, massage the oil into each leaf.
- Chop the garlic scapes or scallions and add to the bowl. Sprinkle the almonds over the top, crumble the cheese over the top and sprinkle the wild blueberries over the top of the greens.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the balsamic vinegar over the salad and toss well. Season the salad to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper and garnish with edible flowers.