Sunday, July 6, 2014

Kale Salad with a Bacon Vinaigrette or Healthy Meets Happy

So as I have stated Kale is a small obsession of mine these days. Well not just mine but the whole country, especially chefs. Last Summer I spent several weeks coming up with two new Kale salads. Now I still love those but I was in the mood for something a little different yesterday. I wanted something meaty and something substantial. So I got to thinking about how much I loved the old 1980's spinach salad. You know the one with bacon bits, chopped boiled eggs and mushrooms served with a warm bacon vinaigrette dressing. It was iconic in the 1980's and nothing says love on a salad like bacon.

I mean my first remembrance of this sort of spinach salad was eating it on the Ocean Liner that my family took when we returned to the mainland on from Hawaii. I remember three things from the dining room of that ship. Perfect scrambled eggs in the mornings for breakfast, hearts of lettuce salad with blue cheese dressing and crispy bacon and tomatoes and the warm spinach salad of which we speak. Of course I remember all the fun things we got to do on the trip but from a food perspective those were my memories.

Later when I worked at the Magic Pan I came across another version of this salad. I chronicled this in an entry on this blog which you can see here:

This was of course the eighties. A time of glamor and cultural explosion. This decade defined forever the American obsession with opulence and elegance in it's modern forms in all areas of American life, fashion, homes, lifestyle and food. In the food arena superstar chefs were born and new and exciting tastes, ingredients and food fusions came into the limelight. Wolfgang Puck draped salmon on pizza and Le Cirque served pasta with spring veggies creating a revolution, one that continues yet today.

So that brings us up to today and to my new Kale Salad. So I will warn you this is not your Mother's Kale salad, not that many mothers made Kale salads for us. It's a hearty dish. Kale and green cabbage and finely chopped mint leaves combine to make a sensational  greens base for red onion, fresh mushrooms chopped hard boiled eggs and bacon bits. This all topped off with a warm tarragon bacon vinagrette. In a word it's a meal!

So when you want a salad as a meal or a hearty side dish give this one a try. Enjoy ya'll!

Kale Salad with Warm Tarragon Bacon Vinaigrette

For the Salad

1 small bunch Kale leaves stripped off the stems and chopped into ribbons
2 cups very finely shredded green cabbage leaves
1/4 cup finely chiffonade of mint leaves
1/2 red onion finely diced
1/2 pound fresh white mushrooms sliced
2 hard boiled eggs finely chopped
3 pieces of bacon cooked and chopped into bits

For the warm Bacon Vinaigrette

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Tarragon vinegar
3 Tablespoons melted bacon fat
1/4 teaspoon sugar
juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients except bacon fat and whip till smooth and emulsified
Heat Bacon fat in a skillet
Add the mixture and whisk to combine
Heat through and pour over the salad and toss well
Serve immediately! Enjoy!