Kale Salad with Stone Fruits and Pecan
Simple but surprisingly luxurious, Kale Salad with Stone Fruits and Pecan capitalizes on in-season cherries and plush peaches. The silky flesh of the fruits contrasts nicely with toasted pecans and slightly peppery leaves of baby kale.
Kale, once relegated to oven-braised dishes and Pizza Hut salad bars, became a popular raw salad ingredient in the early 2000s. The kale salad that started it all was not only a hit at the Brooklyn restaurant that invented it but turned into a green movement across the nation. Kale was suddenly everywhere.
Curly kale and lacinato kale both have fibrous center stalks requiring removal prior to eating. But baby kale, the young and tender leaves of a kale plant, is eaten whole. The thin, small leaves are much like arugula in texture and taste.
Like its adult self, baby kale contains calcium, folate, and vitamins C and K. I find pre-washed baby kale in plastic clamshell containers at my local grocery store. This makes it easy to throw together a salad without too much fuss on any given weeknight.
While perusing the produce section, pick up some stone fruits.
We’ve all heard the name. But what exactly are stone fruits? These are fruits that have a stone, or single pit, in the middle of the flesh.
Some common examples include apricots, cherries, coconuts, dates, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, and plums. These fruits are either cling or freestone, meaning the pit either clings to the flesh or frees easily from it. You have most likely seen peaches labeled this way.
These stone fruits are also called drupes.
Blackberries, mulberries, and raspberries aren't really berries. Actually, they are clusters of small stone fruits that grow together. Their other name: drupelets.
Drupes and drupelets sound like a department store bra-fitting that’s gone wrong, but they are fruits that are fragrant and delicious when ripe. Most of them hit their peak season in the summer months, but some are available from spring to fall. There is nothing like an in-season peach or nectarine!
It is best to let these fruits ripen at room temperature, then refrigerate if you aren’t eating them straight away.
- There are two ways to pit cherries. Either cut them in half and extract the pit, or invest in a $10 cherry pitter. I finally bought a cherry pitter and haven’t looked back.
- Because baby kale is already tender, no massaging is necessary. If you decide to use curly or lacinato kale, remove the center stalk and cut the leaves into thin ribbons. Another delicious kale salad involves apples and walnuts.
- Don’t like cherries or peaches? Use any stone fruit you desire in this salad. You are an adult, so do what you want.
- 5 cups baby kale
- 1 cup cherries, pitted and halved
- 1 cup peaches, pitted and sliced
- ½ cup pecans, lightly toasted
- ½ cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp agave or honey
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Place kale on a large serving platter or shallow bowl. Arrange the cherries and peaches over the kale. Sprinkle on the pecans and feta.
- Pour the vinegar, oil, agave, salt, and pepper into a screw-top jar. Cover and shake until combined. Pour the dressing over the salad before serving.
Keywords: kale salad with stone fruits and pecan