Lacinato Kale (also known as "Tuscan Kale") is the third type of kale I grow in my garden. Last week I gave you some ideas for the curly blue kale and Russian Red varieties. If you'll recall I use those mostly in cooked kale dishes, casseroles and soups. Lacinato kale is more likely to be used in a salad.
This kale grows flat (like the Russian Red), but its leaves are extremely dark green and look more like a leathery strap. Pick it in the cool part of the day (like all greens) and wash in a cold water bath (in a sanitized sink!) to immediately cool it down. The leaves are thick enough and flat enough to pat dry with paper towels. I still like to slice out the center vein and then rough chop the remainder of the leaves. However, some people choose to chop the entire leaf structure up, albeit in smaller pieces. Then it's ready to go into your salad! If you plan to it use later, then store in the humidified drawer in your refrigerator or put in a bowl covered with a moistened paper towel.
Because we're eating this raw, I prefer an acid-based dressing and, if not used promptly, then refrigerate the prepared salad immediately and served it chilled later.
Here's the recipe I used for the salad I made last night, making 8-10 generous servings.
Lacinato ("Tuscan") Kale Salad
6-8 cups loosely packed chopped lacinato kale leaves
2 cans of Cannelini Beans, rinsed and drained
6 oz. dried cranberries
4 oz. chopped walnuts
Put these ingredients in a large salad mixing bowl.
Juice of 2 large lemons (about 1/4 cup) AND 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil (equal amount olive oil to lemon juice)
Whisk together until emulsified, then pour over the salad ingredients and toss 40 times (you know the drill by now!).
I found it interesting in reading that we consider this "Tuscan" kale but its American heritage goes back at least to Thomas Jefferson who grew it at Monticello.