Chard and kale don't have to be cooked. They make a crisp, green winter salad you can actually make, and dress, the day before. I developed this recipe one winter when I was invited to a locavore potluck dinner. Each guest was to bring a dish in which every ingredient had been grown or produced within 100 miles of home, with the exception of salt and olive oil.
It was the first of January, so the possibilities were limited. The locally grown chard and kale looked really good, but what would I do with them? I didn't want to take cooked greens and have to reheat them. I thought if I sliced the chard and kale finely and left them to marinate in some sort of dressing overnight, that would make a nice change from the usual green salad.
Vinegar was out since I didn't know of a within-100-miles source for it. But I had Meyer lemons to provide acid and Satsuma mandarins to add color and a bit of sweetness to balance the slight (and quite pleasant) bitterness of the greens. Satsumas have the added bonus of being seedless and easily segmented. You might want to add some black pepper or a favorite herb; but even without the constraints of the 100-mile locavore diet, I prefer the salad with no embellishments. (I've since added a teaspoon of sugar to the recipe.)
I love to chiffonade; it's my favorite cut! Included, of course, in the excellent book recently sent me for review. The Zwilling J. A. Henckels Complete Book of Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to Use, Techniques and Care is a book I wish had come out much sooner--before I had a chance to develop some of my own sad little techniques. But, hey, I still have all my fingers! Culinary experts Jeffrey Elliot and James P. DeWan have created a book that is the next best thing to a knife skills course at culinary school.
Its 384 pages include more than 1,200 step-by-step photos along with clearly written instructions, and its spiral-bound format makes it easy to use. You will learn how to choose, use and maintain the best knives for your purposes, as well as how to grip the knife properly and hold your guide hand. The book will have you chopping, mincing, paring, fluting and shucking in no time.
In addition to learning how to cut vegetables into sticks, dice, chiffonade and rondelles, you will master the oblique, paysanne, lozenge and tourné cuts. After working your way through the chapters on cutting poultry, meat, fish and shellfish, you'll feel like a charcutier-slash-sushi chef. A comprehensive volume, it even covers carving cooked meats of all types and how to make 11 different decorative garnishes.
Tell me about you and knives. How are your knife skills? What is your favorite knife? What size chef's knife do you like?
Chard and Kale Salad
(Makes 6 Servings)
1 8- to 12-ounce bunch chard, thinly sliced
1 8-ounce bunch kale, thinly sliced
1/2 cup freshly squeezed Satsuma mandarin juice
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 or more Satsuma mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented (about 2 cups)
2 In small bowl, whisk together the juices, sugar and salt; then whisk in the oil. In 3-quart bowl, combine chard, kale and dressing. Cover and refrigerate until next day. Two hours before serving, toss greens and add Satsuma mandarin orange segments.
Note: Rich Ferreira has been growing organic Satsuma mandarin oranges on his family farm, Side Hill Citrus, since 1989.