Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Spicy Kale, Corn, and Mango Salad

The windows are open, the fans are whirling, the ice in my glass of iced tea is melting fast, and I'm a schvitzy mess. Welcome to our first heat wave of the season.

When the temps climb past 90, there's no cooking in my kitchen. At most I can chop up veggies, which is why I was poking around my kitchen trying to come up with a salad that would interest me enough to make the effort to engage with a knife.

There was a fresh bunch of kale I'd just bought, an ear of corn, a white onion, a bowl of tomatoes, a jalapeño, and a not-quite-ripe mango. Hey, a jar of salted capers. And then I remembered the package of Country French Vinaigrette I'd bought at Penzeys in Hillcrest and had raved about for Local Bounty.

This might work. Minimal effort in a hot kitchen. All I had to do was make the dressing--just add red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil--shuck the corn and slice off the kernels, rinse and soak the capers, and chop the rest of the veggies. Then mix it all together. In fact, the not-quite-ripe mango was perfect. It wouldn't collapse in the salad, which would have to marinate to tenderize the fresh kale.

The result was a colorful, zesty salad that was sweet and salty, crunchy and tender. It was great alone, but would be great with the addition of cooked faro or resting on top of pasta. And how about feta or goat cheese added to it in the future after letting it marinate. Riff on it with what you have, but this was a pretty cool(ing) combination.

Spicy Kale, Corn, and Mango Salad
(printable recipe)
Serves 4

1 ear of corn, shucked with kernels sliced off
1/2 slightly ripe mango, peeled and diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 jalapeño, dices
1/2 medium onion, red or white, diced
4 large kale leaves, spine removed, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons salted capers, rinsed and soaked

1/2 cup of Country French Vinaigrette made from Penzeys' mix -- or your own vinaigrette

Combine vegetables, add dressing. Marinate for about an hour. Serve.

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