I’ve just returned from a long time away. Back-to-back work trips on the heels of a wonderful, but far-from-relaxing vacation to England and Paris visiting Andy’s family. With just forty-eight hours at home between trips, I was gone just shy of three weeks. I was seriously craving my routine and the daily diet my stomach was used to.
After a three-hour flight delay at LAX, Mom and I finally landed at nine o’clock last Friday night where our husbands were happily waiting and ready to drive us out to Mom and Dad’s house in Pennsylvania. By 10:30 we collapsed on the sofa and shared a bottle of red and some hastily assembled pizzas.
After nine solid hours of incredible sleep, I woke up and craved a giant mug of my dad’s strong, cinnamon-laced coffee and a simple, clean breakfast. Checking out our meager supplies, Mom and I decided on steel cut oats topped with sliced banana, chopped walnuts, chia seeds, and a splash of maple syrup of which I savored every homecooked bite.
Not long after, Dad came snooping around the kitchen looking for lunch, I volunteered to make a salad (because I had missed cooking too!). I started with some kale and a bit of cauliflower I found in the produce drawer. There was a quarter of a red onion and some green olives in the fridge too. I found a can of white beans in the pantry and threw those in the mix. Mom dressed it simply with a few glugs of potent, good-quality olive oil, salt, fresh ground pepper, and a drizzle of sherry vinegar.
On most days, this would just be a good salad, but on this particular day, it had me meditating on its greatness. It had been a awhile since I’d had a salad this clean and yet so full of flavor. I was savoring each satisfying bite and could almost feel the life returning to my limbs as it settled in my stomach. We also observed how the lowly cauliflower we’d found languishing in the produce drawer combined with the piquant green olives created a taste and mouth feel not unlike feta cheese. And the second time we made this salad, our yellow farmer’s market cauliflower looked like egg.
I will not underestimate cauliflower ever again.
Massaged Kale Salad with Chopped Cauliflower, White Beans, and Green Olives
Serves 2 to 3
4 to 5 cups washed, stemmed, and finely torn kale
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups finely chopped cauliflower (yellow, white, or purple!)
1 can (15 to 16 ounces) small white bean, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup thinly sliced green olives
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Place kale in a large bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of the oil and rub leaves to coat. Add cauliflower, beans, olives, and onion. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper; toss to coat. Drizzle with vinegar; toss to coat again. Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve.