Raw Kale Salad with Poached Quinces and Smoked Almonds

Here's something great to do with the poached quinces of my last post!

I'm a recent convert to raw kale salad... I really thought it would be tough and weird, but it is wonderful. This Genius Recipe from Food52 was my first introduction, but the possibilities are endless. Some friends brought a great one with dried cranberries to Christmas this year. I know a lot of people like the versions they serve at Whole Foods or the Co-Op deli, but I prefer to leave out the sesame/soy sauce type stuff and stick with a basic lemon and olive oil dressing.

Kale is a great canvas for many wonderful salad combinations, because it feels so much heartier than lettuce - you feel like you're eating a solid meal. One of my New Year's resolutions is to eat salad at least twice a week, and I'm not big on side dishes because I'm really not a great multitasker. So I'll be focusing a bit more effort on dreaming up all kinds of hearty main dish salads. You might be wondering, how does Ms. Veggie Obsession not do this already? Even though I love veggies, I must confess... when I get stressed out I tend to fall back on comfort food like meat and potatoes and mac'n'cheese. This combination of kale, poached quinces, smoked almonds and gorgonzola is very satisfying.

1 bunch kale (any kind will do, the curly kind is especially nice)
1 T. lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
1/2 - 1 t. coarse salt
1/4 cup smoked almonds
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola or blue cheese
1/2 cup poached quinces

Slice the middle rib out of each kale leaf, then roll them all together and slice into 1-inch ribbons. Toss in a large bowl with the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt, squeezing it a bit with your hands until it begins to look almost as if it was cooked. Don't skimp on the salt - it needs plenty for the flavor to really pop! Toss the remaining ingredients in with the kale to combine, and pile onto large plates. Serves 2 as a main course.


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