Bumper Crop: Tuscan Kale Salad

Melissa Roberts


A recent Westport transplant from NYC, Melissa Roberts was a food editor for Gourmet for almost 9 years, where she toiled happily in the test kitchen developing and writing recipes for the magazine. She was also a cook and stylist in the Food Network's kitchen

Last Thursday’s Imperial Avenue Greenmarket in Westport fell on one of those perfect crisp and clear Fall days. The Greenmarket’s atmosphere was buzzing, complete with live music commemorating its 6th birthday. I joined in the celebration by treating myself to a Breakfast Pizza (pecorino, local bacon, fried egg) from Skinny Pines Pizza with Raus’ cold Roman Coffee to wash it all down. But my mission was not only to treat my belly, but to find inspiration amidst the produce, and it was there in spades beginning with a pile of deep green lacinato kale from Riverbank Farms in Roxbury, CT. Often with the freshest veggies the best way to treat them is the simplest. In this recipe, kale is shredded then tossed with a straightforward dressing of lemon and olive oil which brightens its earthy, mineral-like flavor, and a generous shower of nutty Parmigiano Reggiano. That’s it. This salad makes a tasty lunch with some crusty bread alongside, or with roast chicken for dinner. 

Tuscan Kale Salad

Serves 4

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 lb (about 2 bunches) lacinato kale (also called Tuscan or dinosaur kale)

cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together lemon juice, mustard, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a bowl.

Trim and discard stems from kale. (If leaves are large and tough, cut out and discard center ribs.) Working in batches, stack several leaves together and thinly slice crosswise (about ¼ inch wide). Add to bowl with dressing and parmesan and toss to coat. Serve with a healthy grind of black pepper.