Broccoli Stem and Kale Salad with Lemon Miso Dressing

kale and broccoli stem saladLast week, Will and I were on our way back from visiting friends in Philly. Last time we visited we spent the entire weekend eating excellent food, and this trip was equally delicious. We had incredible Lebanese food at Suraya (the fatteh with eggplant, chickpeas, and tehina yogurt was divine), hummus at Dizengoff, falafel, shwarma spice fries, and a Turkish coffee tahina shake at Goldie, ice cream at Weckerly’s twice, the best pour over I’ve ever had at Menagerie, a giant wedge salad at North Third, incredibly varied beer and great food at Tired Hands, and a cheesesteak on our way out at Dalessandro’s.
(Thanks again for having us Jesse and Brian – we’ll be back!!!)

But anyways, back to that journey home. We started off a little late, and hit rush hour traffic in Connecticut. We decided to stop and have dinner, and Will picked out Stanziato’s. It was surprisingly busy on a Monday night (a good sign), had an excellent beer list, and a creative take on Italian food that didn’t shy away from ingredients from other cultures. The pizzas were good, but the salad is what left the real impression. The only vegetable it contained was very thinly sliced broccoli stems that were coated in a lemon miso dressing and almost matched in volume by the toppings, which were parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, and capers. It was a delightful umami bomb and variety of textures that turned a normally trashed part of the vegetable into something you might buy on purpose.

I’ve been thinking about that salad since, and while I loved the flavor profile it seemed unbalanced. Afterwards I felt like I ate a bunch of salty cheese and nuts (which, I had) instead of a refreshing bowl of vegetables. The great joy of cooking at home is I can take what I loved about that salad and right the other wrongs. What results is definitely a salad, with a piquant dressing, buttery pine nuts, and a dusting of salty cheese. It feels like the best possible way to eat your vegetables.

Broccoli Stem and Kale Salad with Lemon Miso Dressing

Serve 4

This can easily become vegan by leaving out the parm, but in that case I would urge you to take the extra step of making Laura’s pine nut parm for salad perfection. I made roasted broccoli to go with dinner earlier in the week and saved the stems for this salad.

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used 1 smaller lemon)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon white miso paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 small bunch of kale, de-stemmed (mine was 4.5 ounces)
  • 3 small broccoli stems (or 2 medium or 1 large, mine totaled 8.5 ounces)
  • 1 stalk (2 ounces) celery
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped

In a large bowl whisk the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, miso, mustard, and the pinch of salt until combined.

Chop the kale, and very thinly slice the broccoli stems and celery (I used a mandoline, but careful knife work will also do the job). If you are working with a single large broccoli stem, you may want to peel it first. Test it by trying a slice to see how tough the outer bits are.

Add the kale, broccoli stems, and celery to the bowl and toss with your hands to combine. Work the dressing into the kale leaves so they are totally coated and shiny. Let the salad sit for a few minutes if you have time, so the dressing can soften the kale a bit (at least 10 minutes would be great). When you’re ready to serve top with the parmesan, pine nuts, and capers, and toss once more to combine.

The pine nuts will soften a bit as the salad sits, but its still great the next day.

*I did forget to add in the capers when I took this photo, but I put them in before we ate and they are definitely vital.

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Snow Day White Bean and Tuna Salad

20170108_122648This weekend was very white for much of the east coast. My apartment is perched in the middle of one of Worcester’s seven hills, looking west. Normally I can see across the entire city, but on Saturday the visible world was reduced to one street. On a day when all your cross-state travel plans are cancelled, you might as well embrace being homebound. I hung up the gallery wall of food art in the kitchen, learned how to play Risk (not my best game), and read on the couch. When it came to eating, it was time to turn to the pantry. This salad entered my brain from something I had pinned ages ago, but when I clicked on the recipe the page was dead.  Going off of that single picture I created what I hoped it would have been like, and was so happy with the results I made it again for lunch on Sunday.

This is more a bean salad than a tuna salad, with a big hit of lemon. I can see it being just as great for a picnic as it is for a day inside, and the flavors improve with a couple hours in the fridge. Eating it by the spoonful is perfectly acceptable, but it is also great on crackers or bread, or on top of a salad (may I suggest this one?).

20170108_123319White Bean and Tuna Salad

Serves 3 as a meal, 6 as a side.

  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 28-oz can white beans (or 2 15.5-oz cans), rinsed and drained
  • 1 4-oz can tuna, flaked with a fork
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Pinch of flaky sea salt
  • A few big grinds of black pepper

Add the minced onion to a medium bowl (large enough to fit the beans in) and pour the lemon juice over. Stir to coat and let sit while you get everything else ready. Add the beans, tuna, olive oil, parsley, salt, and pepper to the bowl and stir to combine. Taste, and adjust for seasoning.

 

Spring Composed Salad with Lemon Caper Dressing

Vegetal Matters - Spring Composed Salad with Lemon Caper DressingThere was snow on the ground when I got up this morning. So, I realize I’m jumping the gun with all these spring ingredients, but it still feels like they are a long way off from the farmer’s market and I can’t wait any longer. This salad looks fussy, but it is far from it. It comes together quickly, and is infinitely adaptable. The dressing is assertive (and certainly not for the caper haters), but deliciously bright. Use whatever vegetables you have around, cooked or raw. Chicken or fish could be added (or omit the egg for a vegan meal). If you have any fancy or flavored salt around, this is a great time to use it. I had some lemon salt I made (so easy!), but a big flake or sea salt would shine here. I love the look and process of eating a composed salad, but you could certainly toss it too. Is that enough options? Get to salad making!

Spring Composed Salad with Lemon Caper Dressing

Salad inspired by Alana Chernila, and dressing adapted from Feed Me Pheobe.

While I tried to be specific, don’t get crazy with exact quantities here. Use what you have and what you like. This would easily double or triple for a crowd (just use multiple platters).

Serves 4

  • 1 lb red skinned potatoes
  • 6 radishes (about ⅓ lb)
  • ½ lb asparagus
  • 2 handfuls cherry or grape tomatoes (¼ lb)
  • 4 eggs
  • ¼ lb snap peas or green beans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Whiz the ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, and capers in a food processor or blender, or mince the capers and whisk all ingredients together.

Place the eggs in a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 9 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. When they are cooled a bit, peel and quarter.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Cut potatoes into 1” pieces. Toss in olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. While the potatoes are baking, trim the ends off the asparagus, cut the tomatoes in half, cut the radishes in quarters, and look at the pretty snap peas. On a large platter arrange the tomatoes, radishes, snap peas, and hard boiled eggs. Season them all with a little salt and pepper. Fill a small bowl with the dressing and place in the center.

After 20 minutes take the potatoes out of the oven and move them over to one half of the baking sheet. On the other half put the asparagus and toss in the oil that remains on the pan (or add a teaspoon more if needed). Return the pan to the oven for 5 more minutes. When they are all done let them cool slightly, then add to the platter with the rest of the salad. Dip, and enjoy!