Kale Mixed Salad
By Steve Wong
This colourful mixed salad contains kale, a highly nutritious superfood that packs a healthy dose of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins (A,B6,C,K) and minerals (including magnesium said to guard against Type-2 diabetes) in one serving. A cinch to make, pick up the finer points in making a tasty vinaigrette.
Total time: 15 minutes
A: Fruit & Vegetables
1 fresh medium pomegranate, arils only
1 fresh Korean or Japanese Fuji apple, thinly sliced
10 cherry tomatoes, each halved
1 bunch kale, sliced or 50g rocket leaves, washed
1 lemon, juice only
B: Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons, extra virgin olive oil, preferably cold-pressed
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste, optional
1. Make vinaigrette ahead and refrigerate it. Combine B ingredients (vinegar, salt and pepper) in a mason jar. Give it a vigorous shake. Pour in oil, and give it another shake. Chill until ready to use. If salt and pepper are omitted, combine vinegar and oil in a jar and shake until well blended.
2. For leafy greens like kale and rocket leaves, use a salad spinner to remove excess water. This makes it easier for the vinaigrette to cling to the leaves.
3. Mix sliced apple and a few drops of lemon juice in a small mixing bowl. Citrus slows down oxidation of the fruit.
4. To extract arils from pomegranate, cut it into half. Hold one half over a mixing bowl; using a wooden spatula or large spoon, whack pomegranate skin side repeatedly until the arils drop into the bowl. Repeat with the other half.
5. In a deep mixing bowl, combine A ingredients except lemon juice and toss together. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.
6. Pour vinaigrette over the salad gradually to dress it until it is evenly and lightly coated. Adding too much dressing causes leafy greens to go limp. Serve immediately.
TIP: Extra virgin olive oil is more robust and flavourful and is generally used in salad dressings. For a less pungent oil, opt for a light, mild-flavoured oil like grapeseed, canola or corn oil. For a nuttier edge, add a few drops of walnut oil. To inject Asian flavour, opt for sesame oil.
Vinegar: Balsamic – grape must (skin, juice, seeds and stems) is aged in barrels made of oak, cherry, chestnut, etc to impart woody, smoky accents to the vinegar as it matures over time. Dark brown, it has a silky texture and is mildly tart, lending a delightfully fruity bouquet to a salad. Another good option is apple cider vinegar, slightly sharper owing to its medium acidity but with sweet apple-accented notes.
TECHNIQUE: Always add seasoning (salt, pepper) if used to balsamic vinegar before adding oil. The seasoning is better absorbed into the vinegar. Salt and pepper have the tendency to float on oil. Blending the ingredients creates an emulsion where oil and vinegar (with its different viscosity and density) are combined smoothly.
Steve Wong is a commercial modern minimalist who paints contemporary art.
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