Inspiration for this boldly spiced Kale Salad with Harissa Vinaigrette comes from Joinery in Newmarket, New Hampshire, which recently opened with Chef Brendan Vesey heading the kitchen, and Black Trumpet’s Evan and Denise Mallett at the helm. We were there for Slow Food Seacoast’s launch of Slow Sips — a new series of events with establishments that support good, clean, fair, and local food — and discovered it on the menu when we stayed for dinner. The restaurant serves their kale salad warm with almonds and chickpeas, and we’ve been riffing on this invigorating fusion of zesty flavors ever since.
Start by grabbing a fresh bunch of kale, then zip off the stems, and chop the leaves well. We added thin slivers of red onion — the last one from winter storage — and toasted pine nuts in the latest version, other improvisational options include:
– toasted pine nuts, walnuts, pepitas, or sunflower seeds
– thinly sliced red onion or scallions
– julienned or grated carrot or kohlrabi
– thinly slice red radishes or salad turnips
– oil-cured or brined black olives
– cannellini beans, lentils, or roasted chick peas
– cooked grains such as wheat berries, bulgur, or barley
– crumbled feta or ricotta salata
As for the stems, we recommend chopping them up, and sautéing with some cooked dried beans until the beans become soft and crusty, to accompany the kale salad.
We like this as a cold salad, and dress the kale about a half-hour before serving to allow the leaves to relax and better absorb the vinaigrette. For the warm version, gently heat up the vinaigrette before tossing with the salad.
¼ cup harissa
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ cup lemon juice or red wine vinegar, or half and half
½ cup olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
– Whisk together harissa, garlic, lemon juice or red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper. Makes about 1 cup, about half is enough to dress the salad, with enough leftover for the next salad opportunity.