in love you have loosened yourself like sea water:
I can scarcely measure the sky’s most spacious eyes
and I lean down to your mouth to kiss the earth.
– from ‘In You The Earth’, Pablo Neruda
Editors note: I wrote and finished this post two autumns ago (!) and completely forgot to post it, so here goes! And let me tell you, this salad is still on regular rotation, so it has definitely stood the test of time.
It’s late on a Wednesday afternoon. I’m sitting at our kitchen table, strewn with the remnants of afternoon tea – a half-cold cup of earl grey, mostly-eaten hot cross buns (the scent of which are all around us from our midday baking session), a book of Pablo Neruda poetry that I’ve been reading to the kids. W and T are playing nearby on the floor with their lego (some kind of involved game in which the bad guy is named Donald Trump; we’ve taught them well!). We had big plans to go out bush walking today but instead we’ve stayed at home, playing and playing and reading. I fell asleep reading an afternoon story on the bed, and they let me snooze for almost half an hour. Such luxury!
The windows across the house are thrown open and it’s a balmy afternoon, the sun streaming in. I’m feeling slow in my bones today, tired and lazy and contented enough. It’s a lovely treat to have a hot day this far into autumn, the kind of day that actually feels like late spring. Mostly though, I like how the days blur and blend during the holidays, slow mornings instead of the usual rush to school and work, plenty of time for morning yoga and bike rides and lego making.
We’ve done a lot of baking this school holidays – fresh scones with yuzu jam (!), batches of hot cross buns, soda bread for Sunday breakfast, and I’m planing a rhubarb & apple crumble for this weekend, paired with vanilla ice cream. We’ve also done a lot of cooking – last weekend S made a beautiful eggplant capponata that we’ve been having atop thick slices of fresh sourdough spread with marinated goats cheese.
And I’ve made this Kale, Cauliflower & Preserved Lemon Salad several times over the past couple of months. After a hiatus, I’m back in love with kale salads. The trick is to dress the kale at least an hour before eating to give it a moment to soften. This tahini dressing is nicely creamy and pairs delightfully with the deeply roasted cauliflower and the crispy chickpeas. While you could skip the preserved lemon, don’t. The salty-sweet is what elevates this dish to something special.
Kale, Cauliflower & Preserved Lemon Salad
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 tsp each turmeric, ground coriander, smoky paprika & caraway seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 preserved lemon, peel only
4-6 tbsps olive oil
2 bunches (approx. 300 grams) kale
1/2 cup currants
2 tsps poppyseeds
Toasted almonds, to taste
1/4 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
Whisk together the tahini, lemon juice and olive oil. If the sauce is still a little thick, add some water a teaspoon at a time. You want a runny consistency – like pancake batter.
Remove the kale stems then thinly slice the leaves into ribbons. In a large bowl, toss the shredded leaves together with the dressing. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves until everything has a good coating.
Cut the cauliflower into medium-sized florets – I like to cut the stem and then rip through the floret to give it more texture (which turns to crispy edges in the oven!). Drain the chickpeas and finely dice the preserved lemon rind. In a large bowl toss the cauliflower, chickpeas, preserved lemon, spices and salt together with 2 – 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread across a baking tray and put in the preheated oven for approx. 50 minutes, tossing every 20 minutes. Check after about 40 minutes – you want the edges of the cauliflower brown and crispy but not burnt.
When the vegetables are ready, let them cool for about five minutes before tossing in with the kale. Add the currants, poppyseeds and almonds and mix to combine. Serve immediately or leave to cool. This will keep in the fridge for two or three days, but take it out a half hour before serving to take the chill out.