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The Full Yield Blog

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad with feta cheese

January 31, 2011 | Tags: Deborah Madison , Food , Vegetables | Post comment

Shredded Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad with feta cheese

I’m not a raw foodist, but I do love raw vegetable salads, especially this one, which is based on Tuscan kale, also known as dragon tongue and lacinato. It’s the dark green vegetable that has a bubbly surface rather than a ruffled, scratchy looking one. Look for leaves that are on the small size and tender in appearance rather than those that are overly mature and bound to be tough. The garlic and salt in the dressing will soften the leaves and yet, unlike lettuce, the salad stays fresh and bouncy for hours.  
I use an inexpensive hand-held mandoline — a blade inserted into a plastic tray, essentially— to shave Brussels sprouts for this salad.  The yellow green shreds scattered over the kale make for a pretty contrast – plus they taste good, too.

This makes a filling dinner salad on its own, or you can serve it heaped next to a sautéed chicken breast or over a piece of seared tofu.

1 8-ounce bunch of kale produces 4 cups leaves, enough for 4 generous servings.

Ingredients

1 bunch small Tuscan kale leaves, about 8 ounces
3 Brussels sprouts, base and outer leaves removed
1 plump garlic clove
¼ teaspoon salt
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons robust tasting olive oil
1 to 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Preparation

1.  Slice the kale leaves off the ropy stems and discard the stems. Bundle the leaves, roll them up, and thinly slice them crosswise into ribbons. You’ll need to make 4 or so bundles.  Put them in a salad bowl.  Thinly slice or shave the Brussels sprouts and scatter over the kale.

2.  Mash the garlic with the salt in a mortar with a pestle until it is broken down into a puree, about 30 seconds or so. Add the lemon zest, juice, and whisk in the olive oil. Toss the greens with the dressing until evenly coated, then add the feta cheese and toss once more.  


Serves 4 to 6

Using a Mortar and Pestle
Mortars and pestles are ancient tools that don’t require batteries or electricity to work, but use your trusty arm instead to break down garlic, herbs, spices etc. They come in all different sizes and materials, but the one I suggest as most useful (and affordable) is a small marble mortar and pestle that holds about a cup of material  and costs less than $20 at cookware stores.

One of the things you’ll use this for again and again is smashing garlic to a puree with a pinch of salt to use in vinaigrettes, sauces and dressings. It takes less than a minute to accomplish this, and clean up, for a mortar and pestle is far easier than for a garlic press!  You can also use a mortar and pestle for crushing freshly toasted spices, making herb butters and herb mixtures and vinaigrettes, breaking down nuts to add to yogurt sauces and wherever you want to crush something that’s fairly soft into a smooth substance. As you work you will enjoy the aromas that arise from whatever is breaking down beneath the strength of your hands.

I have many mortar and pestles – some large, some small; some made of olive wood, others of marble. But it’s my small, inexpensive marble set that I use most often. I really encourage you to add this tool to your kitchen


Hand Held Mandolines

A mandoline is a slicing device in which you pass a vegetable over a very sharp blade to produce super thin slices or shreds.  Those made for restaurants are costly stainless steel affairs, but there are other versions more suitable for the home cook.  One is a plastic box over which sits a cover with a blade embedded into it. In some models the blades can be adjusted; in others they’re fixed. You pass the vegetable over the blade and the pieces fall into a box.  Or, you can use a hand held device that costs about $20, in which the  blade is inserted in a sheet of plastic but without the box. Regardless of what kind you use, be aware that the blade is extremely sharp, which is why it works so well. Some mandolines come with safety devices that clamp onto the vegetable. Forschner makes cut-resistant gloves. Or you can promise yourself to be extremely careful when using one. While you  may not use a mandoline everyday, they do make beautiful fine slices and shreds of all kinds of vegetables.
Mandolines can be found in most cookware stores and also in Japanese markets.