These zippy, colorful pickles offer a nice counterpoint to earthy green kale, which is massaged with an olive and pumpkin seed oil dressing. Using your hands to work the dressing into the raw leaves softens them, making them less bitter and more digestible. Finally, a sprinkle of roasted pepitas adds nuttiness and texture.
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 (6-ounce) watermelon radish (can substitute regular radishes)
1 (8-ounce) bunch kale
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seed oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
Do ahead: In a medium bowl, combine vinegar, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt. Thinly slice the radish using a mandoline or chef's knife, add to the bowl, and stir to combine, making sure the slices are well coated. Let stand at least 30 minutes or refrigerate up to a day before serving.
Wash the kale and pat off excess water. If the center stems are tender enough to eat, simply trim the bottom inch or two. If the center stems are thick or tough, cut or tear them out (see Basic Technique: How to Prepare Chard Or Any Other Leafy Green) and discard or save for another dish. Slice the leaves crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons.
In a large bowl, combine olive oil, pumpkin seed oil, lemon juice, thyme, a generous grind of black pepper, and a little salt. Add the kale and use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves until they soften and wilt.
Drain the radishes. Toss with the kale - OR - arrange the slices on individual plates and place the kale on top. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and serve.
(Images: Emily Ho)