Kale Salad with Roquefort, Sunflower Seeds & Currants

        From the blog For Love of the Table

When I was in college, I made this salad with dark raisins.  In its reincarnated form with kale, I make it with currants—which seem a bit more refined—instead.  But if you have raisins on hand, you can obviously use them. 

1 large bunch Tuscan Kale, stems stripped and leaves cut cross-wise into scant 1/2-inch wide ribbons (you should have about 5 oz of trimmed kale)

Salt & freshly ground pepper

1/3 c. toasted and salted sunflower seeds

1/3 c. dried currants

2 T. finely minced shallot, rinsed thoroughly in cold water and pressed dry between paper towels 1/3 to 1/2 c. creamy Roquefort dressing (see below)

Roquefort crumbles for garnish

Wash the kale in several changes of water and spin dry.  If time, chill briefly (this will help it to crisp up and dry a bit more.)

At least an hour before you plan to serve the salad, place the kale in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and scatter a quarter cup each of the sunflower seeds and currants over the kale along with the shallot.  Drizzle a third cup of the dressing over the contents of the bowl, and using your hands, toss the salad, massaging the leaves a bit as you do to make sure they are well coated with the dressing.  Add more dressing if you like.  Taste and correct the seasoning.  Cover with plastic and chill for at least an hour. 

To serve, re-toss, adding more dressing if necessary.  Mound the salad on individual plates or in a serving bowl and top with a scattering of the remaining sunflower seeds and currants.  Garnish with Roquefort crumbles and serve.  Serves 4 to 5.

Creamy Roquefort Dressing:

You can of course use a purchased blue cheese dressing for this salad...but I really don't recommend it.  Homemade blue cheese dressing is simple to make and oh so delicious—particularly if you make it with a good Roquefort cheese.

1 T. red wine vinegar

a small clove of garlic (just a small amount), smashed to a purée with a pinch of salt

1/4 c. mayonnaise (60 g.)

1/4 c. sour cream (60 g.)

1 oz. Roquefort

Salt & freshly ground pepper

Place the red wine vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in the garlic. Whisk in the mayonnaise and sour cream until smooth.  Add the cheese, placing it at the side of the bowl, and begin to mash it with the back of a spoon or a fork, gradually incorporating the mayonnaise-sour cream mixture into it.  Continue to mix until the dressing is homogenous. Your goal is to incorporate the blue cheese in such a way that the dressing is smooth and creamy.  If you make a larger batch, you could do this more efficiently in the food processor, but this small batch wouldn't work very well in a large food processor. Season to taste with salt & pepper.

Makes a generous 2/3 cup dressing.

Note:  This is the identical to a recipe I posted a few years ago except that it has more vinegar.  I found that my normal blue cheese dressing wasn't quite sharp enough for the kale.