Grilled Kale + Fig Salad

Ok, here it is, my newest obsession. Grilled salads. Sounds easy. Sounds basic. Completely is. But the result, wow, this is a game-changer type of a salad. Grilled romaine, endive, escarole and kale are my favorites so far. It's incredible what grilling the greens can do for the flavor. Sweet and crunchy!

But of course I needed to add a little something to my salad. I mean, I love greens on their own, but the add-on's are the best part. Last week when I was in Portland celebrating Fathers Day I stocked up on cherries, strawberries and figs at the local market. Grilled figs are the perfect topping to this kale salad. Mixed in with some salty feta cheese and a light drizzle of balsamic. This salad is quick, beautiful, and oh so filling!

For this recipe, I grilled the croutons, figs and kale all in my cast iron pan. It's a 1 pan kind of a meal, my favorite! 

Grilled Kale + Fig Salad
serves 2 large portions or 4 side salads

1 bunch of lacinato (tuscan) kale
5-6 figs, sliced in half
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
3-4 slices of french bread, cubed
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Using a cast iron skillet, turn the heat on to medium-high and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When really hot, add cubed bread and a sprinkle of kosher salt and ground pepper. Turn a few times until all sides are golden, about 4-6 minutes. Remove from the skillet and set aside. 

With the skillet still on medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place 3-4 kale leaves into the skillet and grill for 1-3 minutes per side, until brown in spots on both sides. Remove the kale leaves and do another batch until the whole bunch is grilled. Remove the stem and chop or tear the kale into big bite size pieces. Set aside. 

Add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil into the skillet on medium-high. Place the figs, cut side down onto the pan and grill for 1-3 minutes. They will caramelize on the cut side and become a golden color all over. Remove and set aside. 

Place the chopped grilled kale bites and grilled croutons into a large serving dish and toss. Add the last tablespoon of olive oil and give it one more toss. Add the crumbled feta cheese, grilled fig slices and a drizzle of balsamic olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. 

Ashley Martisalad, figs, kale