If you like kale, you will enjoy this tree collard salad. It’s simple and–since collards are a heartier green–it’s a salad of substance. Haven’t heard of collard trees? Kale is trendy, but it’s certainly not perennial like this crop. Learn more about tree collards here.
To add pizzaz to this salad, you can always mix in sunflower seeds, toasted nuts, sliced basil, crispy bacon… the list of possibilities is endless. The balsamic vinaigrette is also versatile, but it’s unusual flavor comes from adding a scoop of your favorite homemade jam and some smoked paprika.
What you will need:
½ cup caramelized or grilled onion slices
About 20 tree collard leaves (or kale, if you don’t have tree collards)
¼ cup raisins
1 pear or apple
Balsamic vinaigrette (recipe follows)
What to do:
For caramelizing onion slices, I sauté thinly sliced onion in about a tablespoon of olive oil for about 15 minutes over medium heat, remove the pan from the heat source and add about a tablespoon of honey. Alternatively, for grilling, it’s handy to use foil and a tablespoon of olive oil, so the onion slices don’t stick to your grill.
Massage your collard leaves. This allows them to taste sweeter and become tender. Cut off stems and chiffonade the massaged leaves. (Don’t know how to chiffonade? Check out this handy video.)
Slice the pear or apple thinly to bite-sized pieces. Mix the salad ingredients together, omitting the balsamic vinaigrette. (Remember, vinegar is actually a handy, natural herbicide. This means it will always wilt your greens, so add it to your salad right before serving!)
For the balsamic vinaigrette:
1 garlic clove
¾ cup olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fruit jam
Dash of smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients into your blender and blend for thirty seconds. This dressing keeps for a little over a week.
Try different variations. Sometimes it is fun to add in basil or other herbs; sometimes it warrants some chili. And it is all the more interesting if you infuse your balsamic vinegar with flavors, just by adding a wildcard ingredient into your balsamic bottle. Ever wonder how to get raspberry vinegar? Why not soak some berries in vinegar for a week?
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