This tuscan kale salad is probably one of the easiest salads on the blog to make. You don’t even have to make a dressing or vinaigrette. Smoky kale leaves are drizzled with balsamic vinegar. It can’t get any easier than that. The idea of grilling delicate greens came from a recipe in one of my cookbooks where romaine, endive, and radicchio are charred and chopped, but there’s just one thing. Endive and radicchio are bitter and let’s be honest. They’re not for everyone. I respect romaine for its fresh crunch, and we should well leave it alone that way. Which now it brings us to kale. Kale is versatile when it comes to preparation. You can saute it, roast it, grill it, and serve it raw if that’s your thing.
Lately I’ve been craving grilled mushrooms and oddly enough, fennel. Yes fennel. Again fennel is one of those vegetables that isn’t for everyone, but for those who love it, you might even enjoy it grilled. I’ve cooked fennel about every way possible, but I’ve never grilled it until now. Oh, I must point out that fennel and kale are two vegetables that I don’t love raw. Or even like for that matter. However, when cooked it’s a whole another world of flavor. So I encourage you to give it a try.
This salad is all about letting each vegetable’s flavor shine. Balsamic vinegar adds an acidity and shaved parmesan gives it that buttery, salty goodness. Keeping it simple is sometimes best.
Grilled Tuscan Kale Salad
extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 bunch tuscan kale, ends trimmed
1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into wedges
8 to 10 cremini mushrooms
1/2 cup yellow heirloom or sun gold tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
shaved parmesan, for garnish
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Drizzle olive oil over the kale, fennel, and mushrooms. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place the kale evenly in the pan. Grill for 1 to 2 minutes until lightly charred and wilted. Transfer the kale to a cutting board. Add the fennel and mushrooms to the pan. Grill for 7 to 9 minutes until lightly charred and tender.
Remove the stems from the kale and give it a rough chop. Arrange the kale, fennel, and mushrooms on a serving plate. Add the tomatoes and olives. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Garnish with shaved parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.