Summer always yields unexpected joys. Like the abundance of vegetables that can make a refreshingly-delightful Asian Kale and Mandarin Orange Salad. The heat and cold temperatures see-sawed in between days here on the east coast. But this weekend’s forecast was between the 80s and 90s. This gave me a reason to bring out the chilled salad recipes and enjoy summer’s produce.
One of the vegetables I used for this salad was kale. Kale, also known as leafy cabbage has been around since the Middle Ages. It is easy to grow which partly explains its global popularity. Raw kale is low calorie and is a rich source of nutrients.
Salads seem easy to prepare and they are. But I found out there are some chef’s kitchen prep secrets to keeping those greens bright and fresh-looking. And if you must blanch vegetables before adding them to a salad, I discovered wise tips from the experts – chefs who use them all the time. These nuggets of advice are with the salad recipe below.
Allow yourself to enjoy the coming warm weeks of summer. Let the sun shine through. Let the warm breeze caress your cheeks. Enjoy the foliage and the blooms outdoors. Best of all, spend less time in the kitchen by mixing big, bountiful bowls of salads that can stand as a meal. Smile and let the summer sunshine in.
Asian Kale and Mandarin Salad
- Large salad bowl
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup ginger ale
- 1/8 cup chili sauce bottled
- 2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper powder
- 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 cups kale, washed
- 1 whole cucumber peeled, sliced
- 2 whole medium tomatoes, salad variety sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup sliced thin cabbage
- 1 whole carrot, peeled, julienned
- 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
- 1 cup orange segments, fresh or canned, drain if canned
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup green peas
- 1/2 cup black olives
- 1/2 cup crisp wonton strips for topping
- How to prepare greens for salads: Fill a large bowl or the sink with warm water (a temperature between 105 to 115 F). If it’s warm to your wrist, then it’s good enough. Then soak the lettuces, cabbage, kale, herbs or other leafy greens. Soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Take out the salad greens and dry them using a salad spinner. Or shake the greens gently to remove the excess water. Cover the greens with a damp towel. Chill for 30 minutes till ready to mix in salad. (From Chef Douglas Katz, “Chef’s Secrets”, Quirk Books).
- How to blanch greens or keep cooked green vegetables crisp and colorful: Put the vegetables in a large bowl of cold water. Leave the vegetables in the bowl of water for 30 minutes inside the freezer. In a large stockpot, boil water and add the chilled vegetables. Cook till vegetables are nearly done for about 5 minutes (time varies depending on the vegetable). You should try to have a crisp-tender texture. Return the cooked vegetables to the bowl of chilled water to stop the cooking process. (From Executive Chef Eric Torralba, "Chef's Secrets", Quirk Books).
- Mix all salad dressing ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl: rice wine, ginger ale, chili sauce, honey, salt, pepper and sesame oil. Refrigerate till ready to use. Serve it with the salad, on the side. Or if preferred, lightly coat the greens with this dressing.
- To assemble the salad: Pile the kale leaves at the bottom of a large salad bowl. Line the sides alternately with cucumber and tomato slices. Put the cabbage, carrots, broccoli and green peas mix in the middle. Top with raisins, olives and lastly the crispy noodles. Serve the dressing on the side. Cover and refrigerate till ready to serve.
- Cook's comments: Sometimes I use those wonton strips which Chinese take-out restaurants give for free with our order.
- Ingredient substitute: if kale is not available, use lettuce leaves instead. Feel free to add other vegetables you prefer or which are in season. In place of wonton strips, use croutons if more convenient.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided in the recipe links is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE Asian in America recipes on this blog, my original recipes, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC by Elizabeth Ann Quirino. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]