I emptied two bookshelves in the kitchen this weekend, wiped them down and relocated the tea mugs. The two shelves – which carried space for new cookbooks only if I situated them horizontally along the tops of the others – are now three, with books arranged by subject and room enough for the Suzanne Goin cookbook I was eyeing at Powell’s a few weeks ago. Plus a few more down the road.
And who knew that we own a copy of Deborah Madison’s The Savory Way? I didn’t; the art on the spine is faded to the point of being unreadable. I thumbed through the pages until I got to the salad section and found one that features parsley. Funny, last week I read a recipe for a parsley salad in my copy of Michael Natkin’s beautiful new cookbook, Herbivoracious.
Serendipity deserves a nod so I picked up a bunch this week. It turned out to be a pretty addition to the kale salad I made yesterday using some each of purple and lacinato kales, cooled quinoa and a dressing thickened with roasted acorn squash that caught in the crinkled leaves.
Since I don’t cook with them often I forgot that large turnips are bitter so my plan for creating a kale salad that included shredded raw turnip didn’t pan out. I got around it by roasting thin strips of turnip with oil and salt until they were browned at the tips. The tang of the dressing and boldness of the kale made the strong turnip flavor work for me but if a bitter edge in your salad makes you cringe, opt to fry up some shallots as a garnish instead.
In general I don’t consider January to be a clean slate kind of month (I gave up on that idea of going to the gym in the early mornings long ago), but for the record, my now clean and (more) organized house is the stuff of the resolution-minded. I’m calmer and more focused when the space around me is clutter free, which isn’t often. I’m sure the cookbooks will be in disarray eventually and that my copy of mom’s spinach soup recipe will disappear again. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.
Two-Kale Salad with Roasted Turnips and Acorn Squash Vinaigrette
3 or 4 large leaves of purple kale
3 or 4 leaves of lacinato kale
half a bunch of parsley, leaves coarsely chopped with a handful of leaves left whole
½ cup of cooked quinoa, cooled
¼ of a medium turnip, cut into thin strips with a zester or mandoline
¾ cup of olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon minced shallot
2 tablespoons roasted acorn squash
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ clove minced garlic
handful of parsley leaves
Preheat oven to 400°.
The best thing is to make this salad after you’ve already roasted acorn squash for another meal and have some left over. Then you can steal the two tablespoons for the dressing without much ado. If you need to roast the squash, do so by halving and scraping out the seeds. Rub the flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on a baking dish and roast until soft, about 45 minutes.
Wash the kale leaves and spin them dry. Tear into pieces and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, rub the salt vigorously into the kale leaves and massage until the leaves lose their shape a little. While you prepare the other parts of the recipe, they will soften even further.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place turnips on it. Drizzle with oil and mix to coat them evenly. Salt and toss again. Bake for 5-8 minutes, turning often, until the tips brown.
When the acorn squash is finished, combine vinaigrette ingredients in a miniature food processor or jar with a tight lid and pulse or shake to combine. Adjust the seasonings and oil until it tastes right and is the consistency of a thin purée.
Add chopped parsley and most of the quinoa to the kale leaves and mix to combine. Dress the salad and toss to coat; the hearty leaves can handle a lot of dressing. Top with the extra quinoa, whole parsley leaves and roasted turnip strips.