Harvest Kale Salad with Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette

by Catherine Walthers

This salad works best with tender baby kale—local baby kale from Blackwater Farm, North Tabor Farm, or Ghost Island Farm is ideal. (I can often snag it at the winter farmers’ market.) Another note: Shockingly, some conventional feta has very little flavor. If local Mermaid Farm feta is unavailable, try the French sheep’s milk feta Valbreso, or Greek feta with a combination of sheep and goat’s milk.

Ingredients

  • THE SALAD
  • 4 cups baby kale, washed and dried, small stems removed
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 crisp red apple, organic if possible (as it won’t be peeled)
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 8 dried pitted dates (try to find softer, not dried out dates)
  • 1⁄2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup Mermaid Farm feta cheese, crumbled
  • THE DRESSING
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, or other sweetener
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Harvest Kale Salad with Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette

Elizabeth Cecil

Place the baby kale in a wide serving bowl or platter. Cut the dates lengthwise into very thin strips and place into a separate small bowl. Peel the celery stalks and cut them in half lengthwise; then, with your knife at a diagonal, cut razor-thin, 1- to 2-inch pieces of celery. Add to the dates. Cut the apples into thin slices, and squeeze lemon juice over them to prevent browning, and keep separate.

In another small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup, and olive oil for the dressing. Season with a few pinches of salt and freshly ground pepper.

Just before serving, pour most of the dressing over the kale and toss to combine; pour the rest over the celery and dates. Top with the celery, dates, apple slices, walnuts and feta cheese.

Yield: 4 servings