Last weekend I walked through the farmers' market with my friend Marie. The farmers' market had the last remnants of summer produce, and all the fall produce was already in. We meandered slowly through the stalls, taking it all in.
The apples kept catching my eye. We debated whether to buy them. They'll be there at the market all winter, holding on long after the grapes and leafy greens and heirloom tomatoes are gone. By February, I know I'll be sick of them.
But these were the fresh-picked apples. It had been 10 months since there were crisp, new apples available. They're fantastically different, almost unrecognizable from their counterparts that had graced farmers' market stands all summer.
I bought them (if you hadn't already guessed I was leaning that way). And they were fantastic.
Those apples and a beautiful bundle of kale inspired this salad. I wanted something that would showcase both ingredients. It comes together in minutes, and the individual flavors elevate when combined.
The salad keeps beautifully over night, so it's perfect to make ahead to bring to a early morning brunch (or mid-afternoon book club meeting).
Raw Kale Salad with Apples and Almonds
1 large bunch of kale
2 medium-sized apples (the freshest and crispest you can find!), sliced into match-sized pieces
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup pecorino cheese, chopped into small cubes
1/8 cup olive oil
juice of two lemons
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Wash kale leaves well. Slice the kale leaves away from the tough stems. Discard the stems. Slice the kale into 1/4-inch pieces.
In a small saucepan, toast almonds over medium-low heat, stirring regularly until the almonds are browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Combine olive oil, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Whisk well.
In a separate bowl, add half the kale and cover with half the dressing. Mix the dressing into the salad by hand, massaging the kale generously as you go. Repeat with the remaining kale and dressing.
Add sliced apples, almonds and cubed cheese. Toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate for a day before serving.