kale, Salads, vegetarian
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Kale and Mint Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing and Spatchcocked Chicken

Many times I’ve had kale salads that just weren’t up to snuff.  They were very pretty, but the texture and flavor was somehow lacking, and eating it made me feel as if I were doing some sort of penance for a wrongdoing in a former life.  Don’t get me wrong, I love kale! I saute it; I put it in quiche; but sometimes a raw kale salad can be a little challenging–oh, the constant chewing!  Last week I received this recipe via email and had to try it that day! I was initially drawn to it because I already had almost all of the ingredients in the pantry, except for one: pomegranate molasses, and had to substitute regular molasses for it.  It wasn’t quite a substitution, because pomegranate molasses has a unique sour/sweet flavor that I really couldn’t replicate using ingredients I had on-hand.  That’s not to say it wasn’t delicious, because it was, but I was anxious to know what it would taste like with the original ingredient.  So, on a tip from a friend, I found a a Mediterranean market and purchased a bottle of pomegranate molasses.  Turns out it’s a very inexpensive ingredient (less than $3) and I can’t wait to find some more uses for it…I’m thinking some kind of sauce.  Anyway, I digress!  I made the recipe again this past weekend and it was amazing.  I made a few changes to the original recipe, mainly adding thinly sliced red onion and chickpeas to the salad, as well as chili sauce to the dressing.   I used regular curly leafed kale the first time that I made it, but the second time, I used lacinato, or dinosaur kale.  Both types of kale were equally delicious!

Salad Ingredients

For the salad you’ll need:

1 bunch Lacinato or curly leafed kale, minced

1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup fresh mint leaves, minced
1/2 small red onion, finely sliced
1/2 can chickpeas
Dressing:
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons warm water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced (2 cloves)
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon red chili flake
1 teaspoon chile sauce (if you like it a little spicier)

Dressing Ingredients

Finely chop the kale and the mint leaves and mix together in a bowl.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and massage it into the leaves.  Allow it to sit while you prepare the other ingredients and the dressing. This allows the kale to become a little more tender.

Place all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender or food processor and puree.  Drizzle the dressing over the kale and mix thoroughly.  The salad holds up very well with the dressing and is even great the next day as leftovers.

Meanwhile, I spatchcocked a chicken and cooked it on the grill.  This past weekend, we had record high temperatures:  112 degrees on Saturday! This means that it’s officially time to retire the use of the indoor oven and cook everything outside.  Eric’s favorite dish is roasted chicken.  I have cooked a whole chicken on the grill before, but found that it was a little difficult to cook the whole bird thoroughly without drying the breast.  This time I decided to spatchcock (or butterfly) the chicken so that it will lie completely flat on the grill and thus, cook more evenly.  I used the same herbs and seasonings that I use when I roast a whole chicken in the oven, but instead of stuffing the cavity with them, I slipped them underneath the skin.

The first thing you do is place the chicken breast side down on a cutting board.  Using kitchen shears, cut alongside the backbone and remove.  You can use the backbone for making chicken stock, so remember to save it!

Flip the bird over and lay it flat on your cutting board.  Next season it with herbs, garlic, lemon zest.  I used a combination of rosemary, sage, basil, parsley, thyme and thinly sliced garlic.  Take the herbs and garlic and slip them underneath the skin of the chicken, wherever you can find a little space–under the neck, in between the leg and thigh.  Season generously with coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper and smoked paprika.

Preheat your grill and set up for indirect grilling and oil the grates.  I demonstrated this technique in this post.  What I did was heated the three burners on left side of the grill and placed the chicken on the right side of the grill.  I used some applewood chips in the smoker box to give it a little smokey flavor as well.  Notice that I placed the legs facing the hotter side of the grill.  This is so that the legs and thighs, which cook more slowly than the breast, will have time to cook while the breast facing the cooler part of the grill doesn’t cook as quickly.

Allow the chicken to cook skin side up on the unheated part of the grill until the breast registers 145 to 150 degrees–about 50 minutes to one hour. After this temperature is reached, place the bird skin side down on the left side of the grill (over the hot grates) to crisp the skin.  When the breast reaches 162 degrees, remove the chicken from the grill, cover it with foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.  The internal temperature of the chicken will continue to rise as it rests. 

My bird’s knees got skinned due to crazy flare up! Still tasty!
The chicken was juicy and tender with nicely crisped skin (ok some areas were a little too crisp due to a sudden flare up).  We served it with a squeeze of fresh lemon and the kale salad.  
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This entry was posted in: kale, Salads, vegetarian

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Hello and thank you for visiting my blog, Salty Sweet Life! My name is Tracey and nothing makes me happier than cooking for my friends and family. Food is my passion, whether I'm trying out a new restaurant, delving into a cookbook or mixing up a cocktail.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Thanksgiving Dinner 2014: Top 5 Things I Learned in the Kitchen | Salty Sweet Life

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