This is another in the Freestyle Kitchen series, where I talk casually about dishes I create, from inspiration to creation to enjoyment. There aren’t any formal recipes, just ingredients and guidelines to take you along for the creative process.
While I’m pleased with the three recipes I posted last week, looking back at my photo gallery I see that I created a monochromatic colour palette of shades of beige. The banana bread, maple butter and even that parsnip and sweet potato soup are all beautiful — and tasty — in their own way, but it’s definitely time to brighten things up around here.
Today’s recipe is a salad vibrant in both colour and flavour. My starting inspiration was a bunch of flat-leaf parsley I bought at the market yesterday. It was so big I knew I’d need to use it as a major ingredient in something so it wouldn’t go to waste. From there my mind went to salad, one I could use as an accompaniment to a Middle Eastern-inspired chicken dish that I’ve been thinking about creating. And before I knew it, I had the whole concept for the salad in my head. I could hardly wait to get into the kitchen to make it and see if it lived up to my expectations.
Parsley & Kale Salad with Pomegranate
This salad starts with robust kale, finely chopped to avoid the need to chew until next Tuesday. For a big salad for one, or two side salads, I used the leaves of about six small stalks. Next in the bowl is a big fat handful of flat leaf parsley, with most of the stems removed, also finely chopped. English cucumber pieces add contrasting paleness and crunch, and a finely chopped scallion brings oniony bite. I used about 4 inches of cucumber and the white part of one fat scallion. For a final pop of colour and flavour that literally pops when you bite it, I added about a quarter cup of pomegranate arils. The dressing couldn’t be easier: a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about a tablespoon) and a generous drizzle of good quality olive oil. Add a good grinding of pepper and a sprinkle of salt, then toss the salad well.
A salad like this is easily adjustable to suit your preferences. Want more pomegranate pop? Tumble in more arils. Less lemony tang? Reduce the juice or add more olive oil. Remember, it’s your salad, so please consider mine your jumping-off point.
I think this may be one of the best kale salads I’ve made, although the parsley is so flavour-forward that I really should be calling this a parsley salad. (There, I just changed the title — that’s one of the advantages of being in charge around here.) The flavours in this salad are assertive, and the colours pleasing to the eye. I love all the shades of green from the palest cucumber to the intense parsley. And then there’s the pizzazz of the ruby-red pomegranate arils peeking out from amidst the leaves — that’s salad as art! Finally, the interplay of textures adds enjoyment to the eating experience. I’ll definitely be making this one again.
And for a sneak peak of what’s coming to the blog next, here’s a picture of the salad with the pomegranate molasses-glazed chicken that I made to enjoy with it.