It’s always darkest before the dawn, or maybe “it’s always whitest before the thaw” is more appropriate. Yes, I’m talking about Winter, just a little. Locked in the house, it’s easy to fall into eating lots of comforting carbs. So we have to make sure that we are getting our salads.
Right now, lettuce is fine, but I want something more substantial, and I need deep greens. Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight, but my body/mind is saying, eat some collards and kales. So I’ve been eating them. But today I looked at the bunch of collards in the fridge and said, you look like salad to me.
So, the Waldorf model came to mind. A classic salad of apples, walnuts, lemon and mayonnaise, the Waldorf is a great salad to build out with greens. That soothing bit of mayo and all that crunch stand up to a hefty leaf like the collard.
Southerners know the joy of slow-stewed collards, which they season with bits of ham and hot peppers. But The deep blue-green of the elephant ear sized leaves is a gorgeous thing to see, if you massage them to tenderness. For this salad, I thinly slivered them, and tossed in Meyer lemon juice, olive oil and salt and really rubbed and squeezed the pieces for a few minutes. They shrank and softened to a texture not much firmer than Romaine.
Good thing I ate a bunch, since Collards are a bonanza of cancer preventing sulforaphanes and other antioxidants. They deliver large amounts of vitamins A, K and C, Folate, and iron, calcium and other fun minerals. Just the thing to carry us through the Winter That Wouldn’t End.
Collard Green Waldorf Salad
A great thing about using resilient leaves like these in a salad is that you can dress it and serve it for days. Like coleslaw, it just gets more tender as it sits.
Makes about 4 cups
1 bunch collard greens, stems removed and saved for juice or other use
2 tablespoons Meyer or other lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil
1/4 cup vegan or other mayo
1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
2 ribs celery, split lengthwise and then chopped
1 large Honeycrisp or other apple, chopped
1/2 large carrot, grated
1/2 cup toasted broken walnuts
On your cutting board, roll up the stemmed leaves and slice thinly. Place in a large bowl and add the lemon, olive oil and salt, and massage until the greens are deep green and shrink to about 2/3 their original volume. In a cup, stir the mayo and agave or maple, and add to the greens. Add the celery, apple, carrots and toss to coat. Stir in most of the walnuts, saving some to sprinkle on top at serving.