The Kale Salad at The Eagle in Indianapolis is just about the best I have ever had. This is my attempt to recreate it.
- 2 bunches Kale. Tuscan or Dinasaur kale prefered. Washed with the center stem removed.
- 1/4 cup bourbon soaked raisins. Dried cranberries, or any dried fruit, would prolly work too. (recipe below)
- 1 julienned granny smith apple (core removed)
- 3-4 oz graded sharp white cheddar cheese
- Maple cider vinaigrette (recipe below)
- Cornbread croutons
- 1/4 cup diced red onion. Optional. (My idea. Not in The Eagle’s recipe)
Bourbon Soaked Raisins
You’ll want to do this in advance to get them properly bourbon-soaked. If you don’t want to deal with bourbon or you are in a rush, normal raisins will do. I think dried cranberries or apricots would be delish as well. I’m using some old-ass dried cranberries that are so old you can barely chew them. Perfect for a good overnight whiskey soak.
Place your raisins, or whatever, in a mason jar. Top them with bourbon, screw that lid on good, and let them sit overnight. A few hours minimum is fine if you are in a rush. Or you can soak several quarts of them them for a month to use as needed. The bourbon will preserve them for years, but they might turn to goop after a while. You’ll need to figure that shit out for yourself. You can do this with any dried fruit and any alcohol. Rum and brandy are great as well.
Be sure your vinaigrette is made before you prep the kale. This will enough for 6-8 salad servings. Save the left over dressing in a bottle and keep it in the fridge for later.
• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
• 2 mashed garlic cloves (Mash into a paste)
• 2 tsp dijon mustard
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Wash the kale and remove the thick center stem. Chop into hunks that will fit into a normal human mouth. Place in a bowl and drizzle in some of your vinaigrette. Massage the kale with your hands. No need to go to town on ’em. The kale doesn’t need a good rogering. This is massaged kale, not Happy Ending kale. You want the oils, salts, and acids to soften the kale so it’s more lettuce like and less like eating mulch or wicker. Feel free to smack the kale around, but please get consent first! And use a safe word, like ARUGULA!
Granny Smith Apples
While the kale recovers from your molestation, take the core out of a granny smith apple and cut it into either matchsticks or thin slices. I cut the apple in half, use a truffle shaver for the thin slices, and then cut it down further with a knife. I don’t peel apples just like I don’t peel potatoes. It’s a waste of food.
I am pretty lazy and doubt I will be making cornbread croutons just for this dish. Buy croutons at the store or skip them if you want to avoid carbs. Otherwise, croutons are easy to make. Cut up your bread/cornbread into cubes. Spray with oil. Put in the oven at 400°F and bake until they are dry and crunchy. Easy peasy.
Batch of old cornbread / bread / french loaf / etc
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cut leftover or day-old bread/cornbread into cubes, any size. Place cubes on a baking sheet.
Drizzle/spray with olive oil and toss lightly to coat.
Sprinkle with of salt and pepper to taste.
Toast in oven until sides are a dark brown, about 10-15 minutes, flipping once during baking.
I love cheddar. Use the sharpest cheddar you can find. Hard, sharp cheeses are intense in flavor. You don’t really need much to punch up a salad like this. You can use is sparingly the way you would use Parmigiano-Reggiano. Or shred the cheddar into large hunks and add enough to make your arm go numb. I think you get it up to restaurant quality by drowning it in dressing and going ape shit with the cheese.
Combine the kale, onion, raisins (or cranberrries), cheese, and apples in a bowl and mix in the dressing. I will let you decide if you want it floating in dressing or not, but be generous. Toss your salad. Be sure to stretch first or you might injure your neck or back. It’s always safer to have someone else toss your salad.
Add more dressing as needed. It should be well coated but you should not have a puddle of dressing at the bottom of the bowl.
Serve the salad and top with the croutons. Eat that shit, yo! And enjoy your nice superfood dump tomorrow.