This salad is appropriate any time, but certainly during the holidays and with any menu.
It's exciting and delicious, and it is fun to tell people the name. (I say 'jeweled' because of the gritty sparkle on the sugared pecans and the gleaming crimson of pomegranate seeds.)
This salad is bold and will serve a lot of people. The sturdy curly kale provides an earthy, mineral flavor; the pecans give needed nutty sweetness, pomegranate seeds are mini pops of tart, fruity juice, while salty nubs of goat cheese spike it all with creamy pungency. It doesn't need much for a dressing, save for a delicate drizzle of balsamic and olive oil whisked with a bit of Dijon mustard. However, poppy seed and honey mustard vinaigrettes are also delightful with this if used sparingly.
"This salad is best eaten the day it's made. to enjoy the kale and pecans at peak crispness."
Notes: You can buy kale already chopped and bagged if you prefer, about 8 cups worth.
JEWELED KALE SALAD
Ingredients: 1 bunch of curly kale-about 8-10 stems, four oz. plain goat cheese, one pomegranate, 1 cup sugared (candied) pecans, and a pinch of salt.
Serves 8 well.
1. Place goat cheese in the freezer. Wash and pat dry the kale, then tear it from the core stem into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl.
2. Slice the pomegranate horizontally, then hold one half over the bowl with the seeds facing the bowl. Using a wooden spoon, whack the back of the pomegranate with conviction to pop out the seeds into the kale. When about half of them are out of the first half, squeeze excess juice into a glass (to drink! yum), then turn the pomegranate half inside out to get at the seeds in the inner layers. Follow with the second half of the pomegranate.
3. Tip in the pecans, remove the goat cheese from the freezer, and chop. Add to the salad. Toss the salad gently. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt. Serve with a dressing of choice on the side.
Tip: You can buy pomegranate seeds ready-to-go- with the POM juice. You'll need two containers. Otherwise, select a pomegranate the way you would pick a ripe avocado. Slight give under the thumb, but not soft, with firm, glossy skin that has just begun to lose its luster in a couple of spots.