This recipe fall under the category of "too lazy to cook when I'm hungry", which is a growing state of mind for me as the days begin to heat up. I miss the ease of merely showing up to the kitchen during Verismo Trio's artist residency and being fed, like baby birds, between rehearsals. I have to do the cooking myself now, but at least, once it's made, this is the kind of thing that I can pull out when it occurs to me that I have been lost in thought for so long that I am in full-on hungry mode. Much better than eating Chili-cheese Fritos for lunch.
This salad is also a riff on Heidi Swanson's from her Super Natural Every Day. As I often find with this book, the combinations are clever, but the flavors are just too mild for my taste. So, I spiked the dressing and changed ratios quite a bit from the original. What first caught my eye about this recipe, besides the improbable addition of coconut (don't question it, just do it!), was the toasting of the kale, which we love to make at home for a snack.
Toasted Kale Salad
2 cups cooked barley
1 scallion, chopped (green and whit parts)
3 cups kale, washed and chopped
1 tablespoon shredded coconut (sweet or unsweetened)
¼ cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Sriracha sauce, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the oils and soy sauce in a small bowl. Place the kale and coconut on a baking sheet and pour about ½ the oil mixture over it; stir to coat. Bake the kale until it starts to brown a little bit, about 10 minutes. Add the almonds to the pan and bake another 5-7 minutes, or until they start to get a little bit browned.
Meanwhile, in a large serving bowl, combine the cooked barley. Scallions, and remaining oil mixture along with the vinegar, ginger, and Sriracha. When the kale mixture is toasted to your liking, add that to the barley, stir to combine, and serve. Cold leftovers are also delicious.