The dish that made me fall in love with kale!
When Supply and Demand opened its doors in Ottawa in 2013, this was the dish that made me fall in love with kale. I’d never tasted this now-trendy green as tender as I did when I dove into a heaping bowl of their salad. It simply explodes with delicious flavour and textural contrasts. Since then, I’ve tried recreating this dish at home with moderate success, but for this version, I leaned heavily on Chef Steve Wall’s recipe included in renowned food writer Anne Desbrisay’s Ottawa Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Finest Chefs of Canada’s Capital Region. Not only is this salad one of Supply and Demand’s most popular dishes; they also selected it to be featured on the Transparent Kitchen website and for good reason – it’s as pretty as it is delicious. At the restaurant, they use a vacuum sealer to compress small pieces of kale to tenderize them; home cooks will likely find it easier instead to cut the leaves into 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) shreds and massage the dressing into the kale. I’ve made a few other changes to suit my own personal taste and to create the size of salad I generally like to serve. Feel free to use this as a starting point and make your own variation!
For caper vinaigrette:
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) anchovy paste (or 1 anchovy fillet)
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) pickled capers + 2 teaspoons (10 mL) of brine
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) coarsely chopped shallot
- 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) white wine or rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) cold water
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) canola oil
- pinch salt
For the salad:
- 1 cup (250 mL) thick cut bacon, cubed
- 1 bunch kale
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) Panko or coarse bread crumbs
- 2/3 cup (160 mL) grated Manchego (sheep’s milk cheese) (or Parmesan or Asiago)
- Cook the bacon cubes in a frying pan over medium heat until medium-crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towel. Remove all but 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the bacon fat from the pan and discard (or put in a jar and store in the fridge for other delicious purposes).
- Remove stems from kale and wash leaves in lots of cold water. Drain and spin kale or pat dry with a towel. Shred the kale finely with a sharp knife. Measure out 6 cups of shredded kale and put in a large bowl.
- For vinaigrette, put anchovy paste or fillet, Dijon, capers and brine, shallot, garlic, vinegar and water into a blender and purée until smooth. Add oil slowly and continue to blend. Taste and add salt as needed.
- Re-warm the bacon fat in the pan over medium heat then add the Panko or bread crumbs to the hot fat. Cook, stirring constantly, until crumbs are golden brown; immediately transfer to a bowl.
- Drizzle about 3/4 of the dressing over the kale and with clean hands, thoroughly massage the dressing into the shredded leaves to tenderize it, adding more dressing as needed to ensure the kale is well coated but not ‘drowning’ in the vinaigrette.
- Add bacon bits and toasted bread crumbs; toss gently then sprinkle the cheese over the top and serve.