by Judy Kim
Kale, Apple & Pecorino Salad with Crispy Prosciutto and Balsamic Crema
Yield: 4 Servings
In my opinion salad needs to check off multiple boxes in order to be a success. Sturdy greens that won't wilt under the dressing, check. (Sorry, I'm not nor will I ever be a fan of mesclun - it's so wimpy and wilts so damn quickly) Crisp element, check. Sweet and salty with hint of tart, check. Texture, check.
Eating in season is the best way to get optimal flavors throughout the year but sometimes you just need a good seasonless recipe and this is it. Okay okay, apples do have seasons, but they are long seasons and are easy to find. Other than that, the rest of the ingredients are seasonless. It's a good base salad that you can modify to make seasonal. I'm counting the days until I can add thinly sliced peaches and burrata come Summer. (Since it's April, I'm filing this recipe under Spring, but I'll keep posting recipes based on this for other seasons as they approach)
This salad along with a lot of my cooking is inspired by my favorite restaurant in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, called Gjelina. It makes effortless rustic food with their own California Italian signature twist on every dish. It's the first and last place I want to eat when I visit (and all the days between too). If you've never been, you can transport yourself there by checking out their new Gjelina Cookbook, it is beautifully shot and full of dishes you'll want to make on heavy rotation.
Special note: My friend Deborah @Rainydaybites, hosts a monthly cookbook club on Instagram called #rainydaybitescookbookclub (check it out) and this month, April 2016 her selection is the very same book. Deb - I always want to participate every month and haven't yet (key word yet!), so I'm dedicating this post to you in the spirit of your awesome cookbook club! I hope I'll get to participate with one of Travis Lett's recipes. There is hope, I still have a few weeks to come through.
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1 pound kale, ribs removed and finely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Flaky sea salt
Coarse cracked black pepper
1/2 cup shaved Pecorino-Romano cheese
1 large gala apple, thinly sliced on mandoline
1/4 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line sheet pan with parchment paper and spread out prosciutto in a single layer. Bake 15 minutes until crisp. Watch carefully as it can burn.
In a large bowl, massage kale with 1 tablespoon olive oil and lemon juice using your hands. Season with lemon zest, sea salt and black pepper.
Using a vegetable peeler, shave Pecorino-Romano over the bowl and gently fold in cheese and apples with the kale.
Transfer salad to a serving platter. Break up prosciutto pieces by hand and crumble on top of salad. Finish with coarse cracked black pepper, shower of grated pecorino and drizzle with sweet balsamic crema.
Note: If you can't find balsamic crema, you can make a balsamic reduction so it has a sweet and sticky consistency. Or just use a good quality balsamic vinegar.