I love salads, really I do, but sometimes I get a little tired of baby salad greens. I’m old enough to remember when they were a brand new product to hit the grocery stores, and back then they were all the rage. In those days, all you really had to choose from in the store was iceberg, romaine, or spinach, so the little baby leaves were novel and considered extremely exotic. Nowadays, though, they are everywhere, even in the most basic of salad bars.
In my old catering days, when we’d prepare huge bowls of salad for guests’ first course, we’d always have to be watchful for the red leaf lettuce variety in every mix, because it wasn’t as durable as the other varieties and it would wilt the quickest. Several of us caterers would keep a watchful eye out for the little wilted red leaf on every plate, pulling it out before it was served. Darn you, little red leaf! I’m sure you’re delicious, but you shouldn’t be in a salad mix.
Which brings me to kale. My friend Michele and I met for lunch the other day, and we both ordered a kale salad as a first course. I love kale, Michele not as much, but we both adored our salads. It had a slightly sweet, acidic dressing that softened the kale up quite a bit, and was loaded with pepitas, powdery cotija cheese, and spicy jalapeño slices. The nice thing about kale in a salad is that it travels so well and really holds up, unlike the red leaf, even when dressed. The more acidic the dressing is the better, in order to soften the leaves. I was so inspired that I made my own version of the salad adding radishes and a tomato vinaigrette, all served together in a baked flatbread bowl you can eat. Dark leafy greens have never been so fun or delicious!
P.S. I bake the flatbreads over a washed out tin can in the oven to get that great salad bowl shape, like this:
-Amy at Flatout