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three kale & garlic flower raw salad

November 1, 2013

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A couple of weeks ago, I shook myself out of bed at the crack of dawn, sleepily piled myself into my car and trundled down the empty streets towards Sydney Markets for breakfast.

I was there as a guest of Sydney Markets for a breakfast held in conjunction with Oz Harvest and Good Food Month – a breakfast held right in the middle of the markets and cooked by top Sydney chefs using produce sourced from the stalls that ran alongside their makeshift kitchen.

Immediately before breakfast, we made our way through the biggest hall during the wholesale markets (which close at around 8am in order to make way for the retail markets at 9am on Fridays). It had been a while since I’d last visited the Sydney Markets and was immediately drawn back in time to memories of sunrise and yellow safety vests and forkie drivers who would wink at you as they drove past (backwards, with a full load, around a tight corner).

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I suppose I could tell you more about breakfast. Wax lyrical about the brioche french toast with berries, mushroom broth and green scrambled eggs with cured meats.

I could boast about having drunk more than my fair share of freshly squeezed watermelon juice and the little loot I managed to bring home with me (fat, sweet, black grapes from the table decorations and a bundle of flowers that pricked and spilled water on me as I walked the three flights of stairs to my car).

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I could tell you about the Flower Markets.

The two giant bunches of native flowers that I brought back home with me for just $9 each (plus GST) and the endless buckets of roses that I ummed and ahhed over before realising that I couldn’t possibly carry another thing in my sodden, prickled hands.

But my inspiration fell elsewhere.

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Two bunches of the most magnificently happy kale (in curly purple and dinosaur) for just $2 apiece. Three times the size of your average supermarket bunch and infinitely sprightly in comparison.

Another $2 bunch of kale that had gone to flower, the yellow petals tasting vegetal and sweet without any of that awful perfumed soapy flavour that I usually associate with flowers in food.

A packet, full to the brim, of delicate purple garlic flowers – $5 for more than I was able to use over the course of the past two weeks. A delicate, savoury flavour with none of the raw acidity of pure garlic.

That’s where I drew my inspiration from (and also what happened to grace the kitchen table for a whole 15 minutes before I decided that a post-markets nap would have to be sacrificed in order for meto make the most of my market bounty).

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We had steak for lunch that day, prepared and cooked by a dear family friend for another of the same who was visiting from Hong Kong.

This raw kale salad fed 6 hungry adults as a side, with everyone taking a second and then a third helping.

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The preparation method for the kale is key here – a combination of the oil, salt, acid and massage breaks down all of those tough fibres in the kale that can sometimes make it a real chore to eat. But by doing this, oh! You get a brilliant freshness to the salad without a sore jaw and a bored palate.

Left overnight, the salad really comes into itself (though I would leave the addition of the various flowers and pistachios until just before serving).

If you can’t find kale flowers or garlic flowers at your local specialist greengrocer, don’t despair! A handful of torn mint and the crunch of fried onion (you can buy bottles of crunchy fried onion from an asian grocer) will turn the salad into something just as delicious, if a little less pretty.

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three kale & garlic flower salad
Recipe type: salads and sides
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 6 ribs curly purple kale
  • 10 ribs dinosaur kale
  • 1 orange
  • ½ tsp salt flakes
  • 2 tbsp macadamia oil (or another fairly neutral oil)
  • ¼ cup pistachios (shelled)
  • 1 bunch kale flowers
  • a handful of garlic flowers
  • salt & pepper to taste
How to make it
  1. Wash and dry the kale. Cut the thick centre rib out of the middle of the kale, chop it finely into ribbons and place it in a large, non-metallic bowl.
  2. Zest the orange into the bowl then squeeze all of the juice out of the orange and tip that into the bowl as well.
  3. Add the salt and oil to the bowl and massage the orange juice, zest, salt and oil into the kale, rubbing it all together vigourously with your hands for about a minute. Set the bowl aside somewhere cool while you prepare the rest of your ingredients. (As little as 10 minutes will do the trick, but if you can leave it for a longer time - up to an hour - it will help the fibres in the kale to break down, making it much nicer to eat).
  4. Shell and chop the pistachios into tooth-sized bits. Pick the yellow kale flowers off the stalks and tear some garlic flowers into quarters.
  5. To serve, spread the marinated kale onto a wide platter, scatter the kale flowers, garlic flowers and pistachios on top, along with a some sea salt flakes and freshly cracked pepper.

 


  • #1
    November 1st, 2013

    Oh, wow! I’m in love with kale right now. I think I’m going to have to try this!

  • #2
    November 1st, 2013

    this is such a pretty salad!

  • #3
    Bigbite
    November 1st, 2013

    Garlic flower on kale salad? Not my kind of food for lunch. Fortunately for you, I was wrong. I had more from your left over the next day. Truly refreshing … Give me flowers anyway (the edible type)

  • #4
    November 2nd, 2013

    oh my gosh, I freaking LOVE your photos. They’re so vibrant and..happy! 🙂

  • #5
    November 4th, 2013

    aww this looks too pretty to even eat!

  • #6
    November 4th, 2013

    I find it impossible to walk past a bunch of kale that’s <$3 without buying it. Nice meeting you that morning, Shez. I bought the purple kale too! Kids & I have been eating salty kale chips until our tongues sting. Hmm, a salad might be a nice change. Great tip on how to break down the fibres first – thanks!

Shez