I love when a trip to the grocery store teaches me something new. The other day I ventured in to Whole Foods (or Whole Paycheck as we also like to call it), and came upon a poster with interesting information about something called the ANDI index. Apparently, ANDI stands for “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index”, and ranks the nutrition index of foods on a scale from 1 – 1000, by “evaluating a range of micronutrients including vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidant capacities”.
As you can see, leafy greens rule the roost, and among the ones with a perfect score is kale. And, since most fruits and veggies are at their most potent in their raw state, I figured I needed to come up with a really good way to use raw kale. After a little experimenting, I came up with the following:
*** Since I rarely cook from a recipe, be aware that whatever amounts I do mention are approximate, and might require some tweaking to suit your taste***
Crush a good-size garlic clove. Add 1 part Ponzu (a Japanese citrus vinegar), 3 parts olive oil, a pinch of salt, and about a teaspoon sweet hot mustard. If you don’t have access to Ponzu, you can use a blend of decent white wine vinegar and fresh lemon juice. Add a generous amount of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano, a handful of raisins and an equal amount of toasted pine nuts. Shred the kale finely, and toss well with the other ingredients. I like to use a mix of red and green kale, because it looks so beautiful. Make it ahead of time so the dressing has time to soften the kale. I usually make it the day before. If you want to make it a bit meatier, this is a perfect foil for grilled chicken. Other than that, it makes a great potluck item, because the kale resists wilting, and looks fresh for hours. And you can feel great about it, because it is so darn healthy! Enjoy!
UPDATE: Per my favorite grower of these yummy leaves – Michelle of Bethel Springs Farm: this works equally well substituting the raisins and pine nuts with dried cranberries and hazelnuts. Soooo good!