Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Raw Pesto Collard Greens and Sweet Beet Salad

I had no idea we were so close to a Produce Junction. Four bunches of fresh curly parsley for one dollar? Sweet and firm avocados, three for two dollars? That's insanely cheap! Many recipes beg to be blogged. Today, from the glut of beautiful produce in our fridge, I bring to you two raw, delicious, and lovely salads. You might think it's a little strange to join two salads together, but these are so different in style and flavor, it works. The vivid green of the collards next to the deep red of the beet salad looks lush and velvety, plus they're both full of good things for your body.

For the record, your cj hates beets. Never liked them. There are many things I hated as a child that I've come to love and even crave, such as asparagus, beets, tomato juice, and pickles. Growing up, hating the asparagus and beets I can attribute to my mother's good old-fashioned PA-Dutchy way of cooking things (boil it to a bitter, slimy oblivion), but I still can't account for the tomato juice or pickles. Anyway! Enough rambling.

For the Pesto Collard Greens:

5 large collard leaves, washed thoroughly
1 1/2 TB pesto (I know, the parmesan cheese in pesto is not raw or vegan. Either deal with it or leave it out. I find that the tiniest bit adds so much real-pesto flavor it's worth it, but if you don't, leave it out and add some extra pine nuts and garlic.)
2-3 TB good olive oil (I particularly like "First Lady" from Trader Joe's)
Sea salt to taste.

First, reconsider how thoroughly you washed the collard leaves. Go re-wash them to be safe. Are you sure? Positive now? Okay, fine. Shake or pat off any excess water. Lay all the leaves flat on a cutting board, stems in one direction, overlapping each leaf as you might do with a hand at poker. Let's say five-leaf stud. Start with the nearest leaf towards you and roll them up tightly. This is important as it will help you get a very fine, thin strand as you slice.

When you reach the last leaf, tighten the roll up again, place the seam down, and starting at the non-stem end of the roll, slice the tiniest, thinnest little shreds you possibly can. You will need a good sharp knife to do this. When you get down to the wider part of the stem, you may want to remove them and re-roll the leaves. The stems are still sweet and tasty, but will slightly alter the texture of your salad.

After you've sliced your greens, put your pesto in a large bowl and mix it with the olive oil. I especially like a little extra fresh-grated garlic, but that's not for everyone. Add a bit of sea salt, then toss your greens with the mixture. Mix it so all the greens are evenly coated and glistening and there are no big clumps of pesto. Now, onto the sweet beet salad.

For the Sweet Beet Salad:

1 medium red beet, scrubbed and lightly pared (many people think beet skin is bitter; I haven't found this, but you may)
1 medium carrot, scrubbed
1/3 cup pecan pieces
Juice of 1/2 tangerine
1 TB balsamic vinegar
Tiny sprinkle sea salt
(some diced apples would also be yummy)

Mix the tangerine juice, salt, and the balsamic vinegar in a large glass bowl (do not use a porous bowl or the beet juice will dye it pink!). Let it stand and grate your hands rapidly over a grater. Or the beet. Whichever. Then grate the carrot. Toss the beet and carrot in the juice, then mix in the pecan pieces.

I hope you enjoy. When you make this for yourself, please let us know how it turns out, and what additions or improvements you made!


Tricia said...

Hi, you two! What an exciting blog. I shall bookmark it.

I belong to a farm co-op. I can't control what produce I get every week, and beets aren't common. When I do get some, I immediately steam them ALL and eat them in a big bowl with balsamic vinegar. I am not sure I have the willpower to delay the beety goodness and make anything more elaborate with them.

We do get collards fairly frequently in winter, though. I've never tried them raw.

sarahbdevost said...

So I know this is an old entry of yours, but I had to praise you for this recipe. I got collard greens from my CSA this week and was struggling to find a recipe. All of my CSA ones were cooked and I just don't like cooked greens (consistency). I made this salad and my DS (2 years old) LOVED IT. I mean, I am sure you know it is a struggle to get toddlers to eat anything healthy, especially vegetables, but he just kept eating and eating it, it was truly astonishing. Thanks a bunch!