Kale Salad With Cashew Cream Dressing

Recently, I had the privilege of being the first home cook featured at a new monthly series at Cómodo, a Brazilian restaurant in the West Village.

I put together a prix fixe of Brazilian and Indian flavors (or "Brazindian," as I like to call it).

My girl Carolina Santos-Neves (Epicurious blogger and YouTube star), who consults for Cómodo, got me the gig and handed me my whites.

Back in the kitchen, I had my sous chefs for the evening mix a dressing of my homemade cashew cream, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, cayenne, brown sugar, and a dash of salt, which was massaged into chopped kale for the first course, a pineapple kale salad finished with a tiny sprinkle of powdered sumac berries (more for color than anything else).

I made this dish because kale salad is a perennial feature at Cómodo, and the citrus, spice, and cashew richness for me evoke both the East coast of Brazil and the West coast of India.

Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 handfuls of kale
  • 1 tablespoon cashew butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • Brown sugar to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 2-3 thin slices of pineapple (to garnish)

Preparation

  • Massage dressing into the kale, then toss the fruit on top.

And in case you're curious, here's the rest of the menu for the Brazindian feast: 

Cauliflower "Quesadilla"

The second course was a “quesadilla” of gobi masala (cauliflower roasted, sautéed with fried lentils, minced ginger, turmeric, coriander seed powder, cumin seed powder, and red chilli powder, then tossed with chopped fresh cilantro) served in a whole wheat tortilla with a tart mango salsa. (Next time, I think I will add some green chilli yogurt sauce to this.) Again, I was hoping for the feel of masala scattered by Bahian breeze!

Tamarind curry

For the entrée, during the afternoon and early evening I slow simmered a curry of tamarind pulp, pureed onion, ginger, garlic, red chillies, turmeric, coriander seed powder, cumin seeds, and more cashew cream (thinned with a bit of water), which we served over sautéed oyster mushrooms for the vegetarians and well-seared scallops for the others, accompanied by rice topped with red, orange, and green bell peppers braised in coconut milk and garlic, and garnished with fresh cilantro.

It was a meld of Goan seafood curry and some elements of moqueca de peixe.

Butternut Squash Cinnamon Ice Cream 

Caro for dessert made a roasted butternut squash cinnamon ice cream and served it with toasted almonds and a drizzling of my homemade saffron syrup. We'd planned on using spaghetti squash “noodles” soaked in the saffron syrup with cinnamon ice cream, but the restaurant got a delivery of butternut squash instead.

And isn’t that the essence of cooking, and life? Plan…to improvise!

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