Last week was really not my week. I was in a bad mood and things kept happening to reinforce that, plus I was super busy and not sleeping well, and all around, it did not go well. I need my sleep, people. I am not a nice person without it. So I don’t know why I thought last minute tweaks to this recipe would work. They did not. It was disgusting. Jack ate some of it, but… nope. No more excuses — you want recipes, right?
I went back to my original recipe and this is much better. This is not a fancy recipe — it’s a pretty simple kale salad with an easy vinaigrette dressing that plays up kale’s intense flavor and texture and dressed up with some dried cranberries. Now, I know kale’s had its day in the sun, but I love it and will keep eating it. I don’t really love how chewy raw kale is, so when I make salads, I microwave the kale really briefly just to soften it up. That’s perfect for me — let me know how it works for you. The dressing is super thick and intended to really stick to the kale leaves. The cranberries will sink to the bottom, though, so scoop up.
First, rehydrate the cranberries by just covering them with boiling water and letting them sit for 10 minutes.
Chop the kale. I tend to destem the whole bunch after washing and spin it through my salad spinner to dry it. Then I grab handsful and do a really rough chiffonade (slice thin). If the leaves were big, I then chop perpendicular to the original cuts a few times. About 1.5 leaves per person seems perfect for a side salad.
In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the kale on high for 10 seconds. Stir and do it again. In 20 seconds, your kale should be a bit brighter green and much more tender, but if not, do a few more seconds -- microwave intensity varies widely.
Mix the dressing ingredients, except the oil, well. Then drizzle in the oil. Taste and adjust the seasonings -- you might want more sugar if your balsamic is particularly intense.
Drain the cranberries, and toss the cranberries and lightly cooked kale with the dressing.
If you eat tree nuts, walnuts or almonds are a nice addition to this salad, but are totally optional.