Saturday, September 10, 2011
Kale, Peach, Corn and Feta Salad
My friend Emily often talks about being willing to "re-meet" someone -- to set aside earlier impressions you've formed (rightly or wrongly), and give people another chance to show you who they can be. It's a lovely concept. All too often we are boxed in by previous assumptions or rumors, which can keep us from getting to know some truly extraordinary people. Or, in this case, salads.
In general, I don't think of myself as a terribly fussy eater. I mean, sure, I want my food to be good, and made of actual food and all that. But my prohibitions are fairly minimal: I hate hate hate bananas. I'm not too keen on cooked bell peppers, after their over-use in the college food service vegetarian menu. And I don't like to mix my sweet and my savory.
Or, rather, I thought I didn't. As it turns out, sweet and savory can combine into some truly great dishes. I'm not talking about raisin-studded green salads, or industrial catering wild-rice-with-dried-cranberry pilafs (which might have been how I came up with this aversion in the first place). I'm talking about a salad of drippy-sweet peaches, oh-so-green kale, sunny fresh corn and creamy feta.
I saw this recipe about a month ago on one of my favorite blogs, and pulled it out a few night's ago when I needed a dish to bring with me as I went to watch the local chimney swift migration with a few friends (What? Isn't that what you do on a summer evening?). I figured that even if I didn't like the combination, our potluck picnic would take care of any leftovers. But oh man did I love this. This salad was the perfect bit of Oregon bounty to accompany the natural beauty. The peaches are sweet and juicy, as is the corn (in a different way), but the deeply vegetal kale and briny feta tie it all together. And also, well, it's just so pretty (using the purple-veined Red Russian kale doesn't hurt in that department). This salad is not the sweet-versus-savory fight I always fear -- it's the very best of summer, from the trees and from the fields, coming together in beautiful harmony. I can't wait to find out what's going to surprise me next.
Kale, Peach, Corn and Feta Salad
from Last Night's Dinner, as inspired by a salad at Diner
serves ~6 (great accompanying a light pasta dish, as we enjoyed it, or just a crusty loaf of bread)
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
salt and pepper
1/2 small red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
1 bunch kale (I like Red Russian), washed and torn into small pieces
1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and coarsely chopped
2 ears of corn, cut off the cob
3 peaches, cut into slim wedges
1/4 cup feta (preferably a moist, mild feta, like French or Israeli), crumbled
In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, sherry vinegar, honey, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the onion, and let sit for a few minutes to mellow. Add the kale and cilantro, and mix well to coat with the dressing (I like to sandwich two aluminum bowls together, and shake shake shake until it's coated). Let the mixture sit for an hour for the kale to absorb the dressing and soften. Then scatter the corn, peaches and feta over the top and devour.
at 7:55 AM