Tuscan Kale, Pomegranate & Blood Orange Citrus Salad

When winter rolls around, I get giddy about eating and cooking with some of my favorite fruits.  Pomegranates are like prized jewels from Persephone’s underworld that add beauty and brilliance to all kinds of dishes, as well as eaten out of hand (or over the kitchen sink!). The tarocco blood orange is another red rich fruit which adds not only vibrant color to a dish, but also a subtle sweetness and texture. Pair those two flavors with the healthy and hearty kale and you have a winter salad that’s a marriage made in heaven.

Tuscan Kale, Pomegranate & Blood Orange Citrus Salad

1 bunch Lacinato Tuscan Kale

1 pomegranate or 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

2 blood oranges*

1 Tablespoon Banyuls or sherry wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 Teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper

2 Tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds

2 Tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds

To Prepare the salad: 

Remove the stems from the kale leaves, reserve for another use.  Stack the leaf “filets” on top of one another and slice crosswise into 1/2 inch strips.  Wash and dry well. Refrigerate until ready to use.

If using a whole pomegranate, cut into quarters and remove the seeds over a bowl to catch any juices.  Discard the peel and the pith. (Remove any white pith that falls out with the seeds, as it will be bitter tasting.)  Set aside.

Cut the each end of the blood oranges so a good portion of the orange is exposed.  Slice the peel and pith off the orange, going back to remove any white pith that may have been missed.  It helps to use a small, sharp paring knife, starting at the top and curve the knife blade around the flesh of the orange.  After the peel and pith has been removed, hold the orange in your hand and carefully cut on either side of each segment and let it fall into a small bowl. Squeeze out any juice from the remaining peel and pith into the bowl.  Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, strain off the juice from the pomegranate and blood orange.  if there is no pomegranate juice and/or little blood orange juice, use another orange and squeeze juice into bowl.  Add the vinegar, salt and pepper, then whisk in the olive oil.

To assemble the salad, place the kale in a large bowl. Add the pomegranate seeds, blood orange segments and nuts.  Add a portion of the vinaigrette and toss until all the ingredients are just barely coated. Add more vinaigrette as needed until the salad has enough vinaigrette to be well-coated and glossy, but not over dressed.

Serves 4-6 as a salad course.

*use other citrus varieties when not in season