|Photo © Lara Ferroni|
picnic’s Kale Salad
It would be fair to call picnic, the little food and wine boutique at the top of Seattle’s Phinney Ridge, a blast from the past, even though it opened in 2008. The affable owners, Jenny and Anson Klock, run it the way I imagine my grandmother’s cheesemonger did, linking hellos and goodbyes with first names and questions about the kids. But behind the counter, they’re all business, slicing artisanal meats and cheeses for the sandwiches and picnic platters people eat in-house while browsing the magazine collection or take for the road, usually with a few bottles from their carefully curated, locally focused wine collection.
This salad, made with raw kale, white beans, and toasted pumpkin seeds, and seasoned with Mama Lil’s peppers (a Washington favorite) and the preserved lemons Anson makes and sells at picnic, is great because you can make it ahead and it travels well. If you aren’t thinking three months ahead (it takes that long for the preserved lemons to cure), head to picnic for preserved lemons, or find a good homemade variety — the store-bought kind are often far less flavorful.
Makes 6 servings
6 cups (packed) torn kale (a ¾-pound mix of lacinato, green curly, and red kale works best)
2 cups cooked, drained white beans or chickpeas (from 1 cup dry or one 15-ounce can)
¼ cup Mama Lil’s or piquillo peppers, finely chopped
¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 preserved Meyer lemon (recipe below)
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup canola oil
Note: When you chop the kale, remove all the ribs and tough pieces — the kale isn’t cooked, so it’s best if you tear it into soft bite-size pieces.
- Toss the kale, beans, peppers, pumpkin seeds, and chives together in a large bowl.
- Rinse the lemon to remove any residual salt, then remove any visible seeds, and whirl it in a food processor or blender with the olive oil and canola oil until completely smooth.
- Pour about half of the dressing over the salad, and toss very well to combine. This dressing is very powerful—bright, acidic, and salty. Add a bit more vinaigrette to the salad, tasting along the way. (If you don’t use all the dressing, save the remainder to use on another salad.) Let the salad sit at least 1 hour at room temperature (or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator) before serving.
|Photo © Lara Ferroni|
Preserved Meyer Lemons
Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular lemons, which means that once they’re preserved—packed in salt and left to pickle over the course of a few months—they lend a lovely sweet-salty note to anything they grace.
Makes 6 preserved lemons
6 Meyer lemons
2 cups kosher salt
Special equipment: 2 pint-sized canning jars and lids
- Wash the lemons well. Slice the stem end off each lemon
- with a serrated knife. Starting from the blossom (smooth) end, slice each lemon into quarters lengthwise, stopping about ¼ inch from the bottom, so the lemon stays intact.
- Place three lemons in each of two pint-sized canning jars, pouring about 1/3 cup salt over each lemon as you add it, stuffing salt between the slices of each fruit.
- Screw the lids on the jars and refrigerate the lemons for 3 months, giving the jars a gentle shake about once a week. (They’ll slowly release their liquid and turn the salt into a brine.) The lemons will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator, packed in brine. To use, rinse lightly, if desired. The brine also makes a delicious addition to salad dressings.
Jess Thomson is a food writer based in Seattle. Her work regularly appears in Sunset and Edible Seattle. She is a regular guest on Seattle’s NPR station, KUOW. She blogs about food and life at Hogwash.