Kale salad with green papaya, mac nuts & miso
Hello there! Or perhaps I should say “aloha” as this, my very first golden post, was inspired by a meal I had while visiting the stunning north coast of Kauai last month. I spent the better part of two weeks running around barefoot like a proper Hanalei hippy, enjoying the bounty of delicious and dare I say “golden” foods that the garden island has to offer. From dragon fruit to noni shots and coconut oil drizzled over pretty much everything my pals and I spent our days devouring these edible gifts and like the greedy little bastards we are, we were constantly on the hunt for more! That brought us to Common Ground, a 46-acre site in Kilauea with a farm-to-table café.
Now, I’ve had my fair share of kale salads, but the ”Mighty green salad” as they call it, with it’s roasted macadamia nuts, green papaya and miso was easily the best i’d ever had. I’m not sure if it was the soft and fluffy kale that the fine folks at Common Ground massaged within an edge of it’s life, the crunch from the mac nuts and green papaya, the hit of umami from the miso, or all of the above that made it so great, but upon returning to the mainland I couldn’t stop dreaming about this salad and had to recreate it.
You don’t need to book a flight to Lihue to score what you need to make this salad. Green papayas are abundant in Asian markets like New May Wah in San Francisco and if you can’t find macadamia nuts, rich marcona almonds will surely do. The Kiwi Pro Slice Peeler, which makes peeling green papayas a breeze, will save you loads of time but if you don’t have one in your arsenal just go old school and julienne.
Kale salad with green papaya, macadamia nuts and miso recipe
serves 2 – 4
1 bunch curly green kale
miso vinaigrette to taste
a generous handful of green papaya strands
1/2 cup roasted and salted macadamia nuts roughly chopped
Remove kale from it’s thick stock, wash it, thoroughly dry it and use your hands to massage it by simply rubbing it together. You want to lose the stiffness in the leaves and you’ll know it’s in a good place when it starts to feel softer and turns a brighter shade of green. Pull any larger leaves into bite sized pieces. Toss the kale and green papaya with a generous amount of miso vinaigrette and taste it. If the leaves still feel tough and taste a little bitter let it mingle with the vinaigrette for 5 minutes or so. Taste it again and maybe add a little more dressing. Once you’ve got it where you want it top it with the mac nuts and chow down!
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon raw honey
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Blend all until smooth.
Photos by Bess Friday and Lauren Godfrey. Thanks so much Bess!