This past winter I was at a birthday party for a friend where we were all asked to bring a dish. I brought a favorite of mine (Spinach Chickpeas and Sweet Potato) but the one I could not stop taking seconds and thirds of was a kale salad brought by Deborah and Bryan.
Now Deborah and Bryan are no “ordinary” birthday guests, and so it was no surprise that they came with a dish that was not the least bit ordinary — they own and run phenomenal little jewel of a restaurant in Brooklyn, NY known for seasonal farm-to-table fare called James (they also live above it). When Deborah mentioned that she’d be open to contributing a recipe to the blog and was thinking of the kale salad that they have on their lunch menu, my first question was, “Will it be THAT kale salad? The one from the birthday? And if so, yes!” And that’s how Deborah and Bryan’s Black Kale Salad recipe came to us.
This is what Deborah said about the salad: ”I’m OBSESSED with kale and eat it everyday so we decided to put it on the menu and it’s been a huge hit. I love the combination of smoked almonds, earthy quinoa and ricotta salata and the poached egg makes it damn near perfect for me. I’ve been known to have the salad for lunch and dinner, which is a bit crazy but it’s just so satisfying and healthy.”
Some of the ingredients …
…and the rest…
Bryan’s comments on a few of the ingredients…
Ricotta Salata is easy to find at your local cheese monger or Italian specialty shop or you can buy online from Alma Gourmet which is the company we use for or Italian specialty products. We buy ours from Italy but it can be made from drying, brining and pressing ricotta. Its made from sheep’s milk so if you are going to make it yourself use sheep’s milk ricotta. We make our own fresh ricotta but leave the ricotta salata to the experts in Sicily. Ricotta Salata should be firm, dense a nice pale white color and slightly spongey like a dense feta. If you can’t find it you can use feta instead.
I prefer smoked almonds for the flavor but you could regular almonds preferably toasted at home.
I prefer the texture of red quinoa over white, as it’s heartier with a slightly nutty flavor. You could substitute white or black quinoa all of which should be available at the market or health food store.
Share your favorite kale salads/dishes or tips of how to make the most of this amazing veg!
(All of these gorgeous photos were taken by Deborah and Bryan)
A little bit about JAMES
A pioneer of the now bustling dining scene in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, James is a neighborhood restaurant serving vibrant, farm-to-table American food and expertly crafted cocktails in a beautifully re-imagined, century-old brownstone. Opened by husband-and-wife team Deborah Williamson and Bryan Calvert in 2008, James has earned a loyal following and critical acclaim for its inspired yet approachable menu and genuine hospitality in the warm glow of an inviting, laid-back space.
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