This unique salad is one that I always receive compliments for, but I feel like it's a bit unfair to credit me with its success. The salad is really easy to whip together, and the asparagus, kale, and salmon are the real stars of the show! With bright, fresh flavors and a punchy dressing, this is a great side dish during the spring and summer months, and it's terrific for a variety of meals, from potlucks to elegant dinners.
Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Yield: 4-6 servings
- For the Dressing:
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 T. Dijon mustard
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- For the Salad:
- 3 lbs. asparagus, tough ends removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 6 cups kale, ripped into 2-3" pieces
- 1 8-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, drained and cut into halves or quarters
- 1 lb. Sliced smoked salmon (lox)
- Fresh lemon zest, for garnish
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, for serving
1. Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, and olive oil. Set aside.
2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Place the kale in a steamer basket and cover. Steam for about 3 minutes, or until the kale is bright green and not soggy or wilted. Remove the steamer basket from the pot (but keep the pot on the burner and do not turn off the heat yet) and transfer the kale to a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes, or until bright green and crisp-tender. Drain the asparagus into a colander and run under cold water. Shake the excess water from the asparagus and transfer the asparagus to the mixing bowl of kale.
3. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and salmon to the kale-asparagus mixture. Toss the mixture with the dressing until evenly coated. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours before serving. To serve, place the salad in a serving dish and top with fresh lemon zest, coarse salt, and freshly ground pepper.
- For many novice cooks, the most difficult part about cooking greens like kale and asparagus is to know when to resist overcooking them, but overcooked vegetables, especially those that are going to be chilled for a salad, really need to be treated with care. Just a few minutes of steaming will satisfy with kale, and just a few minutes in boiling water will make your asparagus sing. Don't wait for the asparagus to be super tender (it should be tender-crisp) or for your kale to get soggy and wilted; err on the side of undercooking instead of overcooking.