Kale Salad With Peaches and Cornbread Croutons
This Southern-inspired tossed salad contrasts bitter greens with plump peaches, piquant blue cheese and crispy cornbread crumbs. Seasoned with smoked paprika, onion powder and a hefty dose of pepper, the cornbread crumbs bring serious flavor and texture. While they could be roasted in the oven, sautéeing them in a skillet allows you to better monitor their doneness, and turns the tiniest crumbs brown and extra crunchy while the larger pieces toast until golden but still tender. Sprinkle leftover croutons over salad greens, raw sliced tomatoes or any range of roasted vegetables.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 3tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼teaspoon onion powder
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
- 4to 5 ounces store-bought or homemade cornbread, torn into small pieces (about 2 cups)
- ½small red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 ½tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½tablespoons coarse-grain Dijon mustard
- 1 ½teaspoons honey
- 1pound curly kale, destemmed and torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 packed cups)
- 2large ripe peaches (or nectarines), halved, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
- 4ounces tender blue cheese, such as Gorgonzola, crumbled
Step 1Prepare the cornbread croutons: In a medium bowl, whisk 3 tablespoons olive oil with the paprika, onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Add the cornbread pieces, crumbling them gently between your fingers as you do. Using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture gently until evenly coated. (The croutons will crumble, but do not panic: The smaller size means more crispy bits.)
Step 2Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add the cornbread mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool.
Step 3Make the dressing: In a large bowl, stir together the red onion, olive oil, vinegar, mustard and honey with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. (You should have 3/4 cup dressing.)
Step 4Add the kale to the dressing and toss to coat. Then, using your hands, assertively massage the kale until tender. Add the peaches and blue cheese, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 5Transfer salad to a shallow platter or individual plates, and top with half the crispy cornbread crumbs. Serve with remaining cornbread crumbs, passing them at the table.