Jump-the-Shark Salad | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Jump-the-Shark Salad

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I had to do it. Just had to do it. When I came upon a recipe for kale chocolate chip cookies, I felt the need to vent against the silliness. So here it is.

Sorry folks, but kale, healthy as it is, is a cabbage. So, cookies? I don’t think so. Ditto for kale cupcakes and smoothies. If you think kale tastes so good why would you smother it under a ton of sugar or chocolate?

I get the concept of kale chips, even though they’ll never have the staying power of the ones made from potatoes. But at least the chips make sense and if people want to nosh on brittle, dried up cabbage that’s okay with me. Somehow using kale for sweets seems like overkill, which is too bad because kale is so good and has so many other culinary and health benefits that I don’t want to see it go the way of the Jello mold.

It’s sometimes difficult to know which foods will have their heyday, then disappear due to overexposure or weird creations. No one makes blackened fish anymore. Quiche was once hot, then became a culinary cliché. Yet somehow even the most outlandish topping hasn’t spelled disaster for pizza.

But I have to wonder about whether quinoa, which has been all the rage for quite a while, will also last. There are good reasons to love quinoa. It’s tasty, relatively inexpensive, and very healthy -- a complete protein that lets you cut down on meat-eating. It’s also incredibly versatile and it’s easy to cook. (Note here: for observant Jewish families, quinoa has become a blessing at Passover, providing us with a starch-like alternative during the 8-day holiday.)

But when I found some recipes for chocolate quinoa cake I began to have doubts about whether this too has entered the world of the absurd.

Which brings Sriracha to mind. Sriracha, another addition to the already bountiful number of choices we have when it comes to hot sauce, has a lot going for it. Not merely for splashing onto fries, but for items as diverse as popcorn, hummus, chili, grilled chicken, and even roasted pineapple.

But you lose me when you need to add it to ice cream.

There. I’ve said it.

You might wonder why I decided to create a recipe using not one but all three of these ingredients. As if we needed another recipe for even one of them!

But I figured, why not!

I created a salad, perfect for summer, suitable for all seasons. And – surprise! -- this dish, done for fun, is glorious.

I didn’t actually expect to be so pleased. It tastes good, looks pretty, and is quick and easy to cook too.

Naturally I called it Jump-the-Shark Salad.

Ronnie Fein is a cookbook author, food writer and cooking teacher in Stamford. She is the author of The Modern Kosher Kitchen and Hip Kosher. Visit her food blog, Kitchen Vignettes, at www.ronniefein.com, friend on Facebook at RonnieVailFein, Twitter at @RonnieVFein, Instagram at RonnieVFein.

Servings & Times
Yield:
  • Makes 4 servings
Active Time:
  • 15 min
Total Time:
  • 30 min
Ingredients

Jump-the-Shark Salad with Quinoa, Kale and Sriracha Vinaigrette

1 cup quinoa

3-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

3 scallions, chopped

1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

1 bunch kale, rinsed, dried and chopped (about 3 cups, packed)

1 cup cut up grape tomatoes

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar or lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon Sriracha

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Steps
  1. Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse for a few seconds under cold water. Let drain and set aside. Bring 1-1/2 cups of water to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the grains have absorbed all the liquid. Spoon the cooked quinoa into a bowl to cool. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook for a minute to soften the vegetables slightly. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Add the kale and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Spoon the vegetables into the bowl with the quinoa. Add the tomatoes and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. In a separate bowl, combine the white wine vinegar, remaining olive oil, Sriracha, and salt and pepper to taste and mix to blend the ingredients. Pour the liquid over the quinoa mixture and toss. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.