Rhubarb and Kale Salad
Rhubarb! Who doesn't love a little rhubarb in their life? Even Nevin, who is reigning World's Pickiest Eater World Champion, likes it. He always eats it and then says, "Mommy, it still does that funny things to my eye." (Note: he is referring to the way one's eye squints involuntarily whenever one eats something sour.)
I wanted rhubarb in something besides baked goods this year, so I did a little searching and I found a really tasty looking salad that inspired me. I haven't made the original, but my version is a sweet, sour, salty delight that is packed full of spring goodness. We will be making it again before rhubarb season is over.
p.s. A couple tips: (a) this recipe looks involved but the rhubarb and walnuts take less than ten minutes to make. (b) I wouldn't skip candying the walnuts - the salad needs something sweet. (c) you can skip the Dijon mustard in the dressing, but it emulsifies the oil, so the dressing sticks together.
Rhubarb and Kale Salad
Pickled Rhubarb:1 cup rhubarb, cut in quarter-inch pieces
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup white balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon mustard seeds
Salad:1 bunch kale, thick stems removed and chopped
3 tablespoons pickling liquid from rhubarb
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup (or more) feta cheese
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped
½ cup candied walnuts*
To make the pickled rhubarb: Place rhubarb in a shallow heatproof bowl (I used my 2 cup Pyrex measuring cup). In a small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil; cook until sugar dissolves. Pour mixture over the rhubarb and let sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours before using. The pickles’ flavor even improves if refrigerated overnight. Any leftover pickling liquid can be refrigerated for future use.
To make the salad: Whisk together pickling liquid, olive oil, and Dijon mustard. Toss dressing with the kale, then gently fold in the cheese, apple, walnuts and drained rhubarb.
*To make the candied walnuts: Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet and set aside. Combine 1/4 cup water and 1/2 cup packed brown sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add 1 cup walnut halves and continue to stir for about 5 minutes, until mixture begins to thicken. Pour out onto parchment paper, separating walnuts with a fork. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cool completely. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to a month. (Instructions for the walnuts are from the Sacramento Bee)