This salad. This is my summer salad. Every few months I find a new combination of veggies and dressing that really knocks my socks off, and I eat it on repeat until I come across a new favorite. A few months ago it was a simple carrot and cabbage slaw, dressed with lime juice and cumin seed. A few years ago it was kale with a strawberry-avocado dressing, topped with fresh blueberries the size of your thumbnail. But this time around I've found the perfect balance between chewy and crispy, savory and sweet, tart and mellow. I've amped up my favorite homemade dressing recipe with the addition of fresh shallots and tamed the bitterness of kale with dried Bing cherries from the bulk bin, and I couldn't be happier with the result.
From my own experience, this salad goes great with pizza, with grilled salmon fillets, or tossed with cold roast chicken for a quick and satisfying lunch. It keeps well in the fridge for several days, and is hardy enough to take to a picnic or a potluck without everything going wilty. However, if opting to store in the fridge, let the salad come to room temperature before serving. Although I bet you'll have a hard time keeping enough around to serve the second day.
Tart Cherry Salad
I large bunch red kale, approx. 1 lb.
2 c. red cabbage, finely shredded
2 Tbsp. shallot, minced
½ c. cold-pressed olive oil
¼ c. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
½ c. dried tart cherries
In a small lidded jar, combine the minced shallots in the red wine vinaigrette to marinate. This will tame the "bite" from the raw shallots and mellow them out for a more palatable dressing.
Pick over the dried cherries and chop any larger pieces so that everything is a uniform size. Set aside.
Wash and trim the kale leaves, stripping them from the tough stem. Chop the leaves into fine shred and set aside in a large bowl.
Pour the olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper into the jar with the vinegar and shallots. Tightly affix the lid and shake aggressively, until the ingredients are fully combined. Pour the dressing over the shredded kale and massage for a few minutes, until the dressing is evenly distributed and the kale begins to wilt slightly. I like to do this with a couple of wooden spoons, making sure to smash some of the kale occasionally like a mortar and pestle to speed up the softening process. Toss in the shredded cabbage and the dried cherries, and serve immediately.