Kale Salad with Pecorino and Walnuts

This recipe can be made bare bones (add the raisins, walnuts and crumbs without the extra prep) or not if you’d like to get a little more depth. Both work, but the slightly longer prep (toasting the nuts, the crumbs in olive oil, plumping the raisins, etc.) really makes the salad sing and will not be regretted. – smitten kitchen

1/2 cup walnut halves or pieces
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup panko or slightly coarse homemade breadcrumbs
1 tiny clove garlic, minced or pressed
Coarse or kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch tuscan kale, washed and patted dry
2 ounces pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor, which makes it delightfully rubbly (1/2 cup total)
Juice of half a lemon
Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste

Prepare walnuts: Heat oven to 350. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop.

Prepare raisins: In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid.

Prepare crumbs: Toast bread crumbs, garlic and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.

Prepare kale: Trim (or tear) heavy stems off kale and remove ribs. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise.

Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino, walnuts and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, a final 1 teaspoon drizzle of olive oil.

– SmittenKitchen