I am a big fan of kale salads and slaws. Kale has a hearty, long-lived texture that doesn't go limp and soggy in the refrigerator, and its meaty taste stands up to the simple yet tangy lemon dressings I prefer. So when I saw this recipe from Kim Severson I promptly bought a bunch of kale and a block of ricotta salata. You should too: This stuff is delicious.
When making a salad to go with dinner, I like to make a big batch and eat it for lunch for a couple days afterwards. Kale salads and other hearty, slaw-like salads seem to hold up under this leftover treatment better than lighter lettuce salads. So I am always happy to add a kale salad to my repertoire, and this one, with its shredded dark leaves and creamy, salty chunks of rustic ricotta salata sounded irresistible. Severson says that she initially saw it in Gourmet and adapted it. Ruth Reichl added that it is very good with plumped golden raisins and toasted pine nuts, too.
This is a very simple salad. You roll up the kale leaves, shred them finely, then toss with a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons), and shallots. Chop a block of ricotta salata and toss this in too. I added a few pine nuts for warmth and crunch, and a very generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
I made a double batch for a dinner party tonight, and had a little bowl to try it out. So yummy! The result is hearty and tangy, creamy and salty. It's extremely satisfying, too; I could imagine eating a big bowl of this for lunch with nothing more for accompaniment than a good piece of fruit.
Severson recommends using dinosaur (or lacinato) kale, which is finer and flatter than most curly kales. But all I could find was curly kale, so I used a mix of red and green varieties.
Really, you shouldn't hesitate to try this one out — especially right now, as we are all craving green salads but the fresh garden greens aren't quite ready yet. Kale is one of the few genuine year-round vegetables; it grows in ice, snow, sleet, and sunshine alike!
As Severson says, it holds very well, even overnight. I'm definitely looking forward to a bowl of this for lunch tomorrow — I may even hide some away to make sure there are leftovers!
• Get the recipe: Kale and Ricotta Salata Salad
Related: Autumn Salad Recipe: Kale Slaw with Peanut Dressing
(Images: Faith Durand)