Horta Salata: Fancy Salad

While I love eating kale prepared by someone else, the thought of prepping kale always made me sigh and then shrug and then pass in favor of arugula, spinach, or another green leafy plant to base my salads on.  Also because whenever I would discuss prepping kale with friends, it sounded so laborious: “you have to massage the kale and then let it rest.”  After a few of these conversations, I decided that any leaves that needed this much TLC was not worth working with in my kitchen.

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This weekend however, I was at a restaurant with Lisa that advertised “Tuscan Kale Salad” and I had to order it, and it was gobbled up very quickly by everyone at the table.  I also ranted about how hard it was to prepare kale given all the steps I described above, and Lisa reassured me that I really didn’t need to do all that.

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Re-inspired, and thinking that perhaps I shouldn’t let kale get the better of me, I decided to try a kale salad recipe that I had come across some time ago in a lifestyle magazine.

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While there were a lot of steps to making it, the end result was a very filling salad thanks to the pureed split peas, and I fell back in love with kale.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried yellow split peas
  • 2 tbsp minced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 tsp saffron
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • salt
  • 7 tbsp fresh lemon juice, and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and rinsed
  • 3 dill sprigs, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 tbsp roasted walnuts
  • 6 Kalamata olives, tossed with paprika

Directions

  1. Add split peas to a small bowl and cover with cold water and soak for 5 minutes.  Drain and add to a small pot with 2 cups of water.  Bring to a simmer, skimming froth from the top.  Add onion, garlic, saffron, cayenne, and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, about 10 minutes, adding more water if necessary.  Drain and reserve cooking liquid.
  2. To a food processor, add cooked peas and blend, drizzling in 3 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil and cooking liquid as needed until smooth and thick.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, remaining 4 tbsp lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a bit of pepper.  Continue whisking while drizzling in remaining 1/2 cup olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Spread the split pea puree on the bottom of a bowl.  Toss the kale, dill and onion together with the dressing and place on top of the puree.  Garnish with walnuts, olives, and lemon zest.

Serves 4.

Adapted from Shape magazine’s “Horta Salata from Zaytinya in Washington, D.C.”

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