Potato salad. Two words that strike fear in Simon’s heart. As one who despises most condiments—he holds a special place in hell for mayonnaise in particular—traditional potato salads make him queasy. So I wanted to create a summer salad, that could be enjoyed both warm or cold and that wouldn’t send him running. Plus, I wanted a lighter salad that wouldn’t cause me to feel sluggish in this unbearable heat.
Then again, I am the person who chose to roast potatoes in the oven when it was 105°F out. My logic is questionable at best. If you don’t have AC, perhaps this is a dish best left for cooler days…just a warning. Can I just lament once again over the heat? I know you’re probably tired of hearing about it but it so hot. People keep telling me that eventually I will get used to it and to these heat-crazed devils I politely smile, and back away. I don’t trust your sun worshiping ways.
I’ve become a hermit this summer. Sulking behind drawn blinds, fancying my AC an altar at which I pray for summer breezes and rain showers, swapping my morning hot coffee for iced…the rituals go on and on. I truly wonder if I was born in the wrong place at the wrong time. I crave weather as cold as my heart, I think I said my mother that once as a teenager.
In any event, I’m struggling against a warm current. But I’m grateful that despite all my complaints I can spend my days indoors, cooking, and eating, and dreaming of winter—which in LA means cloudy skies and 60 degree weather. Whatever, I’ll take it.
I elected to keep everything for this dish simple; kale, roasted potatoes, tons of roasted garlic and fresh lemon, a splash of olive oil, and a sprinkling of shallots and kalamata olives. Bold flavors and fresh ingredients make a seemingly simple salad vibrant and flavorful. This would be perfect chilled on a picnic—plus no dairy means it is less likely to spoil. It’s also nice served warm on a summer afternoon or evening. It’s hearty enough to stand-alone but also makes a great side!
What are your favorite summer salad recipes?
- 1 lb. mini potatoes
- 1 bulb roasted garlic (recipe follows)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup olive oil, plus more for roasting
- A few sprigs of rosemary
- 1 ½ cups cooked lentils
- 8 cups kale leaves, torn
- ½ cup thinly sliced shallots
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
- Salt and Pepper
- Roast the Garlic
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 °F.
- Trim the head off of a bulb of garlic, so that the cloves are exposed (I cut off about ¼ inch).
- Drizzle a little olive oil over the exposed garlic cloves.
- Wrap garlic in foil and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Sometimes I’ll set the wrapped garlic on a baking sheet to catch any potential oil spills.
- Check it occasionally to be sure it doesn’t burn. The exact time will depend on the size of the bulb. You are looking for soft cloves with a light to medium, golden brown coloring.
- Let cool before removing cloves form the skin. I use my fingers, because I am a wild animal, but I suppose you could also use a fork or something.
- Make the Salad
- About halfway through roasting the garlic roast the potatoes.
- Rinse and halve mini potatoes. Arrange potatoes and rosemary on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Drizzle with 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 25-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
- Meanwhile place lentils and kale in a large bowl.
- Place roasted garlic in a small bowl with ¼ cup olive oil, lemon juice, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- When potatoes are ready place immediately in bowl with kale and lentils and toss with garlic lemon mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
- Cover with foil or a plate and allow salad to sit for about 5 minutes until kale begins to wilt.
- Top with shallots and olives.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.
- Salad can be warmed in the oven (250°F), in a heat-proof bowl, for about 15-20 minutes if desired.