One of our favorite late summer and early autumn salads is quite simple: just kale, Pecorino Romano, and a light vinaigrette.
Black and green kale comes in season at the end of the summer, and often it's the only green hardy enough to survive late into the fall. So this salad is a favorite staple; it's so rich and delicious, yet so simple, and it gives us that green dish we crave later in the fall. It's chewy, salty, robust and yet also vibrant with the rich kale greens.
This time of the summer, when kale is just emerging, is even better for this salad. You can find young, tender kale and chard, which also works well. You may find Lacinato Kale or Black Kale - Cavolo Nero. We're were working with Lacinato so that's what's in the photo above.
All you really need to do is shave the kale very thin with a good chef's knife; roll it and shave it thinly into shreds. Then toss with the cheese and vinaigrette. It's best when it sits for a bit; the lemon juice pickles the kale a bit and makes it more tender.
Pecorino is a sheep's milk cheese related to Parmesan, but stronger and more robust. Parmesan can be substituted in this recipe, or even the Piave we mentioned last week. But we really prefer the Pecorino - its strong, salty taste balances the meaty flavor and thick texture of the kale.
Kale Salad with Pecorino and Lemon
1 large bunch kale, washed and trimmed of stems 4 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated 2 lemons, juiced 1/2 cup olive oil Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Roll several kale leaves lengthwise and using the point of a chef's knife, cut away the thick center stem. Discard. Roll the remaining stack of de-veined leaves into a tight cigar shape and slice into thin ribbons.
Toss the shaved kale with the cheese. Whisk the lemon juice and olive oil and pour over the salad. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Let the salad sit at room temperature for an hour before serving.