Saturday, June 22, 2013

Grilled Shallot and Nectarine Kale Salad

Kale is in.  All the cool kids are eating it.  I've gotten quite a few questions about the best way to cook/eat kale.  Do I steam it?  Eat it raw?  Yes to both.  But it's such a great season for salads so I've been eating it raw lately.  It's such a great green and very versatile.  It doesn't need much to help it be delicious (it already has the nutritious thing down).

A trick I've learned from Rip Esselstyn's Engine 2 Diet is to use a little avocado and get your hands dirty. Mash that avocado into the kale and then let it sit for a bit.  The avocado softens the kale a bit and what ho! Kale is a perfect salad green.

I spy the makings of a plant-strong salad!  I'm so glad peaches, nectarines and blueberries are in season. All is right with the world.

What sends this kale salad over the top is the grilled shallots and nectarines and a splendid oil-free maple syrup/apple cider vinaigrette that is just so sweet and tangy.

Loveliness.  This would be a perfect salad for a luncheon or a wonderful summer supper.

Um, yes.  It was that good.  Perks of prepping and photographing recipes for the blog.  I had to refrain from licking the plate.  That would have been tacky.  

Grilled Shallot and Nectarine Kale Salad
*Serves 4 
*Prep time: 15 minutes
*Kitchen gear required: Cutting board, knife, bowl, grill pan (optional) or skillet

4 cups washed kale, torn into bite-sized pieces (tip: use the Trader Joe's bagged kale to save a step)
1/2 avocado
2 nectarines, halved and pits removed
1/2 cups blueberries, washed (tip: you can use thawed frozen blueberries)
1 large shallot, sliced
2 Tbsp. chopped pecans
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil mist or 1/2 tsp. olive oil (optional)

Ready, set, go!
1.  Put kale in a bowl and add your avocado.  Using clean hands (please) mash the avocado into the kale.  Set aside.
2.  Heat up your grill pan or skillet.  You can spray lightly with olive oil mist or add a dash of olive oil.
3.  Place shallots and nectarines in skillet or on grill pan (you can salt and pepper them if you want).  Grill until you've got nice grill marks on both ingredients.  Keep the heat pretty low so you don't burn the nectarines.  Remove from heat and let cool for a couple minutes.
4.  Slice up your grilled nectarines.
5.  Add blueberries, pecans, nectarines and shallots to the avocado-ey kale.
6.  Combine maple syrup and apple cider vinegar and pour over salad.  Gently toss.  Serve immediately while the nectarines and shallots are still warm. 
7.  Gobble up.  Have seconds.  Or thirds.  This is totally a guilt-free salad!


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