“I would touch the wall as I walked up the stairs,” Suzen began, “and if it was warm, I knew she had made latkes. She made great latkes.”
Suzen recounts visiting her grandmother in a 3rd floor walkup in Brooklyn. Her grandmother was one of many Jews who came from Bialystok, a town in Poland that has been Polish, Russian, Lithuanian, Swedish, and perhaps a few more. A trading center, everyone wanted Bialystok, to control it, but a lot of people could not live there.
Suzen raves about her grandmother’s latkes saying they are the best. Anytime we eat out and sample one, she will contemplate and pronounce that they are nowhere near the originals from the Brooklyn apartment.
So, I finally asked: “Did your grandmother make Russian dressing.”
“Sure,” Suzen said, and I waited for a wondrous recipe, “it’s mayo and ketchup.”
I was underwhelmed. But, as fortune would shine on us, Suzen and I have a copy of Maximum Flavors. And here we have a very interesting new salad: kale slaw topped with Russian dressing. This Russian dressing is not just mayo and ketchup. There’s lots more to it and the results are simply dazzling.
Maximum Flavors is devoted to new ways, new concepts to cook at home. This salad is a great example. You are used to marinating things, like meat, fish … Who ever heard of marinating a salad. But this kale slaw requests just that. At least 2 hours and Suzi did about 6. The result? That kale with its formidable skin is transformed into a delectable crunchy treat.
Kale was not on the culinary horizon for a few years ago. Now it is everywhere. Kale chips, with chipotle of course, sit in $6 bags at Whole Foods. To really enjoy the purity of its dramatic flavor, try the kale this way. With real Russian dressing.
I bet a certain grandmother would approve.
Kale Slaw with Russian Dressing
Yield: serves 8 as a side dish
- 2 bunches kale, preferably Tuscan
- 1 large carrot, grated
- ½ cup / 100 grams mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s or Hellmann’s
- ¼ cup / 65 grams ketchup
- ¼ cup / 60 grams sweet pickle juice
- 1 tablespoon / 15 grams chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon / 15 grams chopped celery
- 1 tablespoon / 15 grams chopped carrot
- 1 teaspoon / 5 grams prepared horseradish
- 4.5 ounces / 125 grams Gorgonzola dolce cheese, crumbled
Remove and discard the kale stems. Finely slice the leaves about ¼-inch [6 mm]thick, then wash and dry them in a salad spinner. Put the kale in a bowl and add the grated carrot.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle juice, chopped onion, chopped celery, chopped carrot, and horseradish.
Pour the salad dressing over the sliced kale and carrots and stir to evenly coat the mixture. Put the kale slaw into the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours and up to 24.
To serve, put the kale slaw in a bowl and crumble the Gorgonzola cheese over the top…
Source: Maximum Flavor by Aki Kamozawa and Alexander Talbot
Photo Information [top picture]: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/2.8 for 1/100th second at ISO-1600
Marie Simmons is a friend and very trusted author. Trusted? Take any recipe, from any of her 20+ cookbooks, and you just have to follow the simple, totally clear directions. Your results will be, well not just results, but a culinary accomplishment that will truly please you.
Marie’s latest venture is Taste of Honey. Here’s the first taste test that Suzen tried: a salad dressing that has “the usual suspects” coupled with a good dose of honey. The fun thing here is playing with the amount of honey —Suzen displayed a heavy hand here so there was a distinctly honey tang to her dressing.
And, of course, changing honey varieties can generate enormous flavor shifts. Unlike other foods where you have to struggle to notice the “difference” that “experts” announce, with honey you can be tongue-dead and still be very aware of a flavor difference.
So with this recipe as a template, you can pair different honey flavors with different ingredients. Chicory versus romaine, for example, gives you room for mix and match.
Suzen and I are working our way through this lovely book recipe by recipe. More tasting results to come. No testing is necessary: these are all Simmons perfect.
All-Purpose Honey Mustard Salad Dressing
Yield: 2/3 cup
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon full-bodies red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey [or more!]
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 small clove garlic, grated
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until emulsified. If making by hand, combine all of the ingredients except the olive oil in small deep bow. Add the olive oil a few drops at a time, continuously whisking until emulsified.
Store in a glass jar at room temperature for up to 1 day or refrigerate and keep for up to 1 week.
Source: Taste of Honey by Marie Simmons