Usually when people mention the word “salad,” it doesn’t stir up great emotions in me. This week’s recipe from Georgia-based food entrepreneur and cookbook author Gena Knox was all it took to convert my appetite. Her recipe for kale and apple salad with molasses vinaigrette and sugared pecans is the right mix of savory and sweet, with the Parmesan cheese balancing out the sweetness of the Golden Delicious apple. Plus the colors are so deep and beautiful that the salad really is irresistible. It also comes together quickly and becomes more flavorful as it sits, making it perfect for entertaining. If ever a salad could make me want more, this is the one! — Kristina
About Gena: A native of a small town in South Georgia, Gena Knox’s culinary path, which began in her mother’s kitchen, has led Gena to author two cookbooks. Her most recent cookbook from November 2010, Southern My Way: Simple Recipes, Fresh Flavors, is a compilation of recipes for traditional Southern dishes that have been updated with a lighter, healthier approach and focus on the use of local ingredients. In addition to being a cookbook author, Gena is in charge of recipe, creative and product development for her company, Fire & Flavor, which she founded with her husband Davis Knox in 2003. Fire & Flavor started as a small company that sold grilling planks, but has since expanded its offerings to an array of cooking products including grilling papers and skewers, gourmet seasoning salt blends and rubs and brining mixes. Also active in her community, Gena was invited to be in the Leadership Georgia Program Class of 2009, which builds leadership training among young business, civic and community leaders. You can follow her culinary adventures at her blog.
CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!
Kale and Apple Salad with Molasses Vinaigrette and Sugared Pecans
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Marinate Time: 1 hour
Yields: 4 servings
- 1 large bunch of kale, washed (about 7 cups loosely packed)
- 1 Golden Delicious apple, cut into matchstick slices
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced with carrot peeler
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon molasses (not blackstrap)
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground mustard
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons vegetable stock
- 1/2 tablespoon butter
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- pinch of allspice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
1. Using a sharp knife, cut away think center stems of kale leaves and discard stems. Stack several leaves, tightly roll them into a cigar shape and slice them into thin ribbons. Repeat until all leaves are thinly sliced.
2. In a small bowl, combine molasses, vinegar, mustard, shallots, oil and stock, and season with salt and pepper. Toss dressing with kale, apple and cheese, and let sit at room temperature for one hour.
3. Heat butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in cinnamon, allspice, pepper, sugar and pecans. Toast pecans for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring until the sugar has melted and the pecans are lightly toasted. Spread on wax paper to cool. Toss pecans with salad and serve.
Food photography by Kristina Gill; cutting board by Andrea Brugi; pecan dish by Christiane Perrochon; gray woven coaster from Fog Linen; forks from ebay; bread plates in plum and ash, medium pebble bowl in milk by mud australia
Why Gena Chose This Recipe
Besides the fact that our garden is overflowing with kale and collards, it is one of my favorite vegetables and so good for you. I love the fall and winter flavors of sweet maple syrup, apples and of course, Georgia pecans, which are higher in antioxidants than any other nut. This salad is the perfect combination of winter’s bounty and is super healthy, which helps us start the new year off on the right foot.
Portrait by Erica Georges Dines