Bon Appétit (July 2012)
We're definitely no strangers to grilled salads. There's a Grilled Caesar Salad we've been eating for years now, and we loved the Grilled Butter Lettuce with Buttermilk-Chive Dressing we made a while back.
And even the idea of grilled kale isn't that crazy: It's essentially the same as some Tuscan Kale Chips we tried about three years ago.
But when we saw this Grilled Kale Salad with Ricotta and Plums in the July Bon Appétit, we immediately wanted to make it. For one thing, we had a ton of curly kale from our most recent CSA share. On top of that, the combination of the cheese, the grilled kale and the fresh fruit sounded refreshing and different.
Ricotta is one of those foods we never, ever have. Honestly, we couldn't even tell you the last time we purchased ricotta, but we did a search of the archive and suspect we last bought it a year ago, to make Asparagus Ravioli.
But the ricotta is perfect here -- creamy and mild, it's the perfect cool counterpoint to the tangy balsamic vinegar and the salty charred kale. Grilling the kale brings out a flavor that's actually almost bitter, making it a great match for the sweet plums. (We actually couldn't find plums at the market, so we used pluots instead.)
It all makes for a delightful salad, perfect for a late lunch on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
active: 20 minutes | total: 20 minutes
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
4 medium plums, halved, pitted, thinly sliced
12 large or 16 small curly kale leaves
3/4 cup fresh ricotta
Whisk 3 Tbsp. oil, vinegar, thyme, and honey in a medium bowl. Season vinaigrette to taste with salt and pepper. Add plums and toss to coat; transfer plums to a plate.
Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Brush kale leaves with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt. Grill kale, turning once, until crispy and charred at edges, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a work surface; let stand until cool enough to handle. Remove large center stems with a knife and discard (just trim the tough ends from smaller, more tender kale stems).
Divide ricotta among plates; season with salt and pepper. Stir vinaigrette again. Tear larger kale leaves into pieces (leave smaller leaves whole). Place leaves in a large bowl and toss with some of the vinaigrette. Divide leaves among plates. Top with plums and drizzle some vinaigrette over.