I didn’t feel like cooking or writing this weekend. It seems like every morning recently I’ve been waking up to news of another shooting or bombing: Orlando, Istanbul, Dhaka, Baghdad. So much hatred, and there are probably a lot of things I should or will feel, but all I’ve got right now is sadness, and everything I write sounds both wrong and not enough. Andrew is in Paraguay this week performing with the Paraguayan National Symphony Orchestra, and as much as I enjoy solitude, it doesn’t feel like a good time for it. So I’m trying to take care of myself the best I can, which means getting lots of sleep, exercise, and sunlight, and eating real meals with vegetables in them instead of eating cold fried rice while standing at the kitchen counter because it seems like too much of a bother to cook for one.
This is one of my favorite salads to make, and I’m very happy to share it with you. Even though it was a struggle to get myself to prepare it, I’m glad I did—the hearty lacinato kale leaves don’t wilt as quickly as other salad greens, so the salad keeps for several days and I’ve been enjoying the leftovers. I’m also pleased to report that forcing myself to make some healthy food launched me into a cooking extravaganza, so I have lots of recipes ready for future blog posts, and I’m starting to feel a little better. I hope you all are having a happy holiday. I also hope that, even though it doesn’t seem like it right now, the U.S. and the world are moving toward celebrating our differences rather than letting them inspire fear and hatred, and that we can all help that progress to the best of our abilities. The editor in me wants to rewrite this a million times to make it sound better. Awkwardly, imperfectly put, but it’s what I can do right now.
Kale Salad with Grilled Zucchini, Hazelnuts, and Pecorino
- 1 large bunch lacinato kale (about 1 lb), washed and dried, stems and thick ribs removed, leaves cut into thin ribbons
- 3 small zucchini (I used green and yellow), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
- 1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skins removed, crushed
- 1 to 1 1/2 oz. finely grated pecorino cheese
- 5 Tbsp olive oil, + more for brushing
- 2 1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup finely chopped scallion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- Brush the zucchini slices with olive oil, salt and pepper lightly. Cook on a grill or a grill pan, flipping once, until both sides are nicely charred and zucchini is soft. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, combine kale, scallion, basil, and mint. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil and lemon juice with a few grinds of pepper. Add this dressing to the kale, toss to coat leaves thoroughly. Add pecorino and toss until combined. Top salad with zucchini slices and hazelnuts.