As much as I loved living in D.C., summer there was the absolute pits. Temperatures in the high 90s or higher, so much humidity that walking outside felt like moving through steamy hot damp towels, and mosquitos lurking in every dark corner. Summer in the District required coming up with dinners that required very little heat, particularly in my tiny apartment.
In contrast, summer in southern California is…well, much like the rest of the year here. In our little corner of WeHo, temperatures rarely reach above 85, and both humidity and mosquitos are pretty rare. While we tend to save hearty stews and heavier meals for the winter, there isn’t the same need to avoid the oven/stove from June-September. Even so, old habits are hard to break, and during this summer season, I'm always on the lookout for meals that require little-to-no cooking time. This lightning quick, easy, and cheap crispy kale salad from Bon Appétit is a great example.
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp honey
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 4 medium peaches (or plums), halved, pitted and thinly sliced
- About 1 lb kale leaves, rinsed and dried well, any large center stems removed
- 1 cup fresh ricotta
First I whisked together 3 tbsp of the olive oil, the vinegar, the thyme and the honey, and seasoned with salt and pepper. I tossed the peaches into the vinaigrette and let them sit a bit while I prepped the kale.
I preheated the broiler, then spread my kale leaves out on a couple of baking sheets. I brushed the kale with the remaining oil and sprinkled the leaves with salt. I broiled the kale until crispy and charred at the edges, about 4 minutes. If you have an outdoor grill, 1) I’m jealous, and 2) you can use it to crisp the kale.
To serve, I heaped the ricotta on our plates and seasoned it with a little salt and pepper. I topped it with the crispy kale leaves and a few slices of peaches, and drizzled the whole thing with some of the vinaigrette. We really enjoyed the combination of creamy ricotta, salty, crisp kale and sweet peaches in that tart vinaigrette. With just a handful of ingredients and no more than 5 minutes of oven time, we had a meal I wish I could send back in time to my D.C. self.