Kale Salad with Lemon, Pine Nuts and Goat Cheese

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Last week I received an email inviting me to an exclusive tasting and one-on-one meeting with Chef Vitaly Paley at his restaurant Imperial in Portland. Now many of you in Portland know of Chef Vitaly Paley for his restaurants, Paley's Place, Imperial and Portland Penny's Dinner, so you can understand my excitement. He is a James Beard Award winner for "Best Chef Pacific Northwest". Winner of Food Network's Iron Chef America. And now he is taking on a new challenge. Chef Paley has partnered with Liberte to create an exclusive yogurt highlighting Pacific Northwest flavors. They will be added for a limited time only to his restaurant menus.

Tomorrow I will meet with Chef Vitaly Paley at his downtown Portland restaurant, one of my favorites, Imperial. I am beyond excited to not only meet Chef Paley but to try his Portland inspired Liberte yogurt pairings.

More on my tasting later...onto the salad.

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As one of my friend's recently said, "summer is for salads", and I completely agree. In the fall and winter time, kale is a staple in our household. We add it to our soups and pasta. Mix it with white beans, garlic, bacon and red chili pepper flakes. But in the summer, I love it simply as a raw salad. I'm not sure what it is about kale, but when raw, it fills me up much more than other salad greens. 

Last night I made a large kale salad adding in a few of my kitchen staples to add flavor and volume. Pine nuts. Lemon. Goat cheese. Garlic Scape vinegar. and Maldon Sea Salt Flakes. 

Notes: I like my dressing pretty acidity, if you do not, adjust the volume of vinegar and olive oil. On occasion I will add in a tablespoon of honey. Here I used garlic scape vinegar, if you do not have something similar, feel free to use any type of vinegar you prefer. Possibly add in some garlic to the dressing. Any nut that you prefer could also replace the pine nuts.

Kale Salad with Lemon, Pine Nuts and Goat Cheese
1 large bunch of kale, washed and stems removed (I love all kale types, any will do)
3 tablespoons of olive oil 
1/4 cup vinegar (I used my infused garlic scape vinegar, any will do)
Juice from one lemon
2-3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
large pinch of flaky sea salt
large pinch of freshly ground black pepper
goat cheese

Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Spread pine nuts in a single layer and toast until lightly browned. Remove from pan and let cool.

Wash and dry kale. Remove center stem and thinly slice greens. Place in a large serving bowl.

In a small bowl, mix olive oil, vinegar, lemon, flaky sea salt and black pepper. My favorite tool to use for this is the bodum milk frother. Honestly, it is my most used kitchen tool. Taste dressing and adjust.

Mix in 1/2 of the dressing, toss, taste, add more dressing if needed. Toss in the pine nuts. Stir. and sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.

Normally with salads I prefer to eat them right away. With a raw kale salad, I like to let it sit for 15-20 minutes to let the kale absorb the dressing.