The first time I made a kale salad it was this recipe from Melissa Clark, and I liked it so much that I've been following its basic elements ever since. Thin ribbons of kale marinate in a garlicky vinaigrette until they wilt ever so slightly, then get great texture and flavor from sweet, chewy currants and rich pine nuts, plus shavings of nutty parmesan on top; the robust combination perfectly balances the vibrant greenness and slightly bitter bite of the kale.
Tuscan kale salad with currants and pine nuts
1/4 tsp grated lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/8 tsp red chile flakes
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp currants
1 small bunch Tuscan kale, large stems discarded and leaves thinly sliced crosswise into ribbons (about 3 cups)
2 Tbsp pine nuts
freshly shaved parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
sea salt and black pepper
In a large bowl whisk together the lemon zest and juice, garlic, red chile flakes, olive oil, currants, a pinch of salt, and a couple of grinds of pepper. Let sit for a few minutes so the currants absorb some of the liquid.
Add the kale and toss to coat with the vinaigrette. Marinate at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes until the kale has wilted slightly. Taste and add more salt and black pepper if needed. Add pine nuts just before serving, and shave some parsesan over each portion.