While I'm not the biggest fan of raw kale in general, I find that the baby variety is a lot easier going down and it's actually one of my favourite greens at this time of year. Strong flavours and some good old-fashioned texture help out too when there's a big bowl of greens waiting to be chewed up. Enter grapes, edamame, nuts and seeds, plus a punchy and herby shiso vinaigrette. It's a more plenteous salad than I was eating this summer, full of rich flavours like sweet-savoury warm grapes, earthy beans and garlic-toasted nuts. So, I guess as autumn is already here, this salad is a salute to the next few months of more considerable, substantial fall meals.
- 4-5 cups baby kale
- ½ cup cooked edamame
- 4 spring onions, white and light green parts thinly sliced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- toasted sesame seeds and shiso flowers or small shiso leaves, to serve
- ⅓ cup packed shiso leaves (see Note)
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp mirin (or 1 tbsp rice vinegar)
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- ½ tsp toasted sesame oil (see Note)
- ½ tsp maple syrup, honey or brown sugar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
- splash of toasted sesame oil (see Note)
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1 tbsp raw pine nuts
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup red grapes, halved
- 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
To make the shiso vinaigrette, place the shiso, vinegar, mirin, olive oil, sesame oil and maple syrup (or sweetener of choice) in a food processor and pulse until the leaves are broken up and the liquid is mixed. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Place a fine-mesh sieve over a small jar and strain the vinaigrette; use the back of a spatula or spoon to squish out all of the liquid. Cover the jar and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To make the sautéed grapes, heat a frying pan over medium heat and add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add a splash of sesame oil, the smashed garlic, pine nuts and a pinch of salt, and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the nuts have toasted a bit, about 1–2 minutes.
Add the halved grapes (try to arrange the grapes cut-side down to get a bit of caramelisation on them, but don't make yourself crazy; they will still taste just as good!) and cook for 1 minute or until bubbly and juicy. Dispose of the smashed garlic and sprinkle with the parsley. Remove the pan from heat and set aside until needed.
To arrange the salad, mix the kale, edamame and spring onions with a couple of tablespoons of the vinaigrette in a large serving bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then add the warm sautéed grapes and pine nuts. Gently toss the salad and adjust the vinaigrette and seasoning.
Serve with the toasted sesame seeds and shiso flowers or small shiso leaves. Enjoy!
• Shiso leaves are available from selected Japanese food stores and greengrocers. If you can't find shiso leaves where you are, a mixture of basil, lemon verbena and mint should suffice. Or, try ¼ cup Thai basil leaves with some lemon zest for somewhat of a similar vibe.
• Toasted sesame oil is available from health food stores.
Recipe from dolly and oatmeal by Lindsey S. Love with photographs by Lindsey S. Love.