Do you have your New Year’s Day menu worked out? I’m preparing my Black-Eyed Peas with Jalapeño Oil along with cabbage and pork. I just haven’t decided on what cabbage and pork dishes to make. On the cabbage front, I’m debating between Smothered Cabbage and Cabbage Casserole. Both call for sausage and cheese, but the Cabbage Casserole also includes rice and boat loads of cheese–it’s a meal in itself. The Smothered Cabbage is on the lighter side with its turkey sausage and tangy kick of feta cheese. As for the pork, I’m craving my Jalapeño and Citrus Roast Pork again. If you haven’t tried this recipe yet, you should! This pork has plenty of personality. It’s punchy and spicy, making it perfect for a cold winter’s day (and several additional days of amazing leftovers). Since it’s only been two weeks since I made it last, I’m not sure the family is ready for another round. My Apple and Bacon Grilled Pork Loin is probably a better choice since I haven’t made it in a while. That’s the one I serve with a Bourbon Brown Sugar Glaze. Oh, it’s so good too and also provides plenty of tasty leftovers.
While I’m working out the cabbage and pork details, there’s one item that’s already in the works for tomorrow. It’s this Wilted Kale Salad. I make this salad quite often for lunch and I thought it would be a welcome addition to any New Year’s Day spread. Kale is a green after all and in this salad it’s simply spectacular. The kale is lightly coated in a warm, garlic-infused dressing that wilts the leaves just so. Parmesan cheese is tossed in at the last minute to offer up subtly salty and nutty notes and the Brie Croutons are, well, lagniappe–lusty little embellishments oozing with flavor, crunch and creaminess. They take the salad over the top. But hey, it’s a New Year. Might as well start big!
Best wishes for a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Wilted Kale Salad with Brie Croutons
1 bunch kale
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Brie Croutons, for garnish (recipe follows)
Remove and discard stems and center ribs of kale. Coarsely chop kale leaves and place in a large bowl; set aside. In a small microwave-safe dish, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Cover and microwave on medium (Level 5) for 2 minutes. Immediately pour warm dressing over kale and toss very well (tongs are the best tool for the job). Let salad sit for 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Divide evenly among serving plates and garnish with Brie croutons. Makes 4-6 servings.
Brie Croutons Recipe
1/2 pound Brie cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
Olive oil, for frying
Using a vegetable peeler, remove rind from Brie. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes and place in freezer until ready to fry. Place beaten egg in a small shallow dish. Place bread crumbs in a separate shallow dish. Pour 1/2-inch of olive oil in a medium frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, remove cheese from freezer and working in batches dredge cheese cubes in egg and then bread crumbs. Fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a wire rack or stack of paper towels to drain. Serve warm.