Just because it’s cold outside, doesn’t mean I’m done with salad. I find that if I go more than a day or two without a good bowl of greens, I can really tell the difference in how I feel overall. Giving roughly-chopped kale a quick bake adds a bit of crunch and flavor dimension and also help tame the cud-chewing issue that kale can present. This salad is a combination of several recipes I read here and there, and I’ve had fun experimenting with different combinations of nuts, seeds and dried fruit additions. I’ve also tossed in some quickly seared tofu cubes on occasion. So feel free to take your own liberties and use ingredients you have on hand. In fact, this would be a lovely addition to a Thanksgiving spread — try a combination of dried cranberries and toasted walnuts along with the coconut. (Hmmm… I may have just created another to-do for myself this week!)
But whatever you do, pick up a good quality, preferably organic, tamari or soy sauce. The difference astounded me — all together more depth of flavor and less blatantly salty. I’ve had the best luck with the gluten-free varieties — even though I’m not especially sensitive to gluten — I just think they taste best.
There’s something about toasted coconut in a savory dish that often points me toward Viognier. (I could say the same for cashews and dried apricots, come to think of it.) And Viognier is a nice cold-weather choice for white wine, since it offers palate weight — and often alcoholic heft — along with heady aromatics that can sometimes seem a bit much in the heat of summer. Viognier worked for me with this hearty salad, but if you’re leaning toward a red, consider a Chianti, Chianti Classico, or Cru Beaujolais.
Yalumba 2012 Viognier South Australia The Y Series ($12). Nice surprise at a great price, offering pretty tropical citrus with touches of dried pineapple and mango. Smooth and bright. Find it!
McKinley Springs 2009 Viognier Horse Heaven Hills ($14). Crisp, tasty, white flowers, tangerine, lime, concentrated apricot, fresh finish. (2013-06-16) Find it!
Calera 2012 Viognier Central Coast ($17). Always a favorite around here for its bright, lively yet silky array of classic Viognier flavors and elegant winemaking at a great price. Find it!
Calera 2011 Viognier Mt. Harlan ($30). One of my favorite Calera Mt. Harlan Viogniers ever — sleek tropicals, balanced, mouthwatering, elegant white florals, lovely. Find it!
Recipe: Baked Kale Salad with Raisins, Almonds & Toasted Coconut
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons organic tamari or soy sauce
4 cups kale, ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped
1 cup unsweetened large flake coconut
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup raisins or golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place chopped kale, coconut and almonds in a large bowl. Whisk together oils and tamari in a small bowl and pour most of this over the kale mixture, reserving a couple of tablespoons for the end. Evenly spread mixture on two baking sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes. You want the kale edges crispy but not burned.
Return kale to mixing bowl, add raisins and reserved dressing, and toss all to combine. Serves 4 as a side dish.