I’m going to go out on a limb and assume I am offending many Italians with today’s Antipasto Kale Salad. A dear friend of mine who works with a group of born and raised Italians was once ridiculed for adding chicken to her fettuccine. So, I’m sure my oxymoron of a dinner idea is going to raise a few disapproving eyebrows. I mean no disrespect. I know that antipasto roughly translates to “before food” and is in no way intended to be a main. Nor is a salad, kale or otherwise, ever considered an entree at any Italian’s table. So, I’m not making many friends here with this salad but if you have no strong feelings about Italian food other than “Holy geez! Do I love Italian food!” you and this salad will get along fine.Jump to Recipe
Labour Day has come and gone and everyone is getting back to their routine. Except me because I never left it. All summer long I envied the vacation-bound but now I’m sort of glad I didn’t take any great stretch of time off. It really takes the edge off of the usual September blues. Sure, I’ll miss summer. Summer always has a party-like atmosphere even if you are schlepping to work every day. So I will miss the lightheartedness of the season, not to mention the weather.
But fall is good. The weather is still hospitable and, if I’m honest, it’s a hell of a lot more comfortable. I’m starting to want to use my kitchen again. I’m grateful for the days I don’t have to use the AC. Also, I put on a sweater dress the other day and I looked super cute in it.
There’s also the early fall palette. I’m talking frosted emeralds, dusty pinks, rich burgundies, and vibrant yellows. And the light, it goes all golden and makes the world look vaguely antique. And! It’s fine to eat pasta again. Not that isn’t fine to eat pasta all the time. I’m just saying chowing down on pasta in the summer does feel a touch stubborn. Like, you’re denying how hot it is by boiling a giant pot of water in 40°C heat because you’re having mac & cheese dammit!
Today’s Antipasto Kale Salad bridges the gap between the two seasons very nicely. While it does contain pasta it’s also served chilled. Full-bodied flavors rule this dish but there are notes of freshness and refreshment provided by the burrata and fresh blackberries. It’s a salad of contrast. And it has a lot of vinegar, which makes it pretty much my favorite.
Now, I know I implied that this Antipasto Kale Salad is a main, but if you were really going for it in terms of the number of courses, you could serve it to a table full of people as a starter. This would significantly cut down on the per person burrata intake, which I don’t remotely approve of. But it is an option. This recipe can comfortably feed 4 as a meal, and about 8 as a starter. But again, each guest will only get 1/8 of the burrata. You have to ask yourself if you’re comfortable with that. If you do serve this salad as a starter, I would imagine you would be less offensive to Italian food purists. Which is cool if you’re into that sort of thing.
I will admit the dressing for this salad does not look remotely appetizing. Apparently adding blitz marinated artichoke hearts will do that to a vinaigrette. But what it lacks in beauty it more than makes up for in flavor. Picture this: The liquid from a jar of marinated artichoke hearts married with red wine vinegar, garlic, a drizzle of honey, a smattering of crushed red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt. If that doesn’t at least whisper paradise to you, there’s no way I can sell you on this Antipasto Kale Salad.
You have to be a vinegar fan to love this salad. A real connoisseur of life’s pickley bits. So if you aren’t prone to eating salt and vinegar chips until your mouth bleeds, you might want to cut down on the amount of red wine vinegar listed in the recipe below. But if you have a healthy (unhealthy) appreciation of the work of Miss Vickie, welcome home, this Antipasto Kale Salad is the salad you’ve been looking for.
So that’s everything you need to know about this Antipasto Kale Salad. It’s not a traditional salad, it’s not a particularly healthy salad (Hello, salami!), but it is a very pickley salad and it gets along great with a couple of slabs of sourdough. And for those two very solid reasons, I am exceptionally proud of it. So kick off the fall with this vinegar-rich, completely inauthentic Antipasto Kale Salad.
Antipasto Kale Salad
- 1 cup dried farfalle
- 1 (170 ml, 5.7 fl oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts divided
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 – 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 142g, 5oz baby kale washed
- 1/2 pint blackberries halved
- 4-5 slices Genoa salami torn into bite-sized pieces
- 4-5 slices prosciutto torn into bite-sized pieces
- 4-5 slices capicola torn into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers tightly packed
- 1/2 cup mixed olives heaping
- 1 ball burrata
- Bring a large pot of water up to boil. Liberally salt the water and add the farfalle. Cook according to the package's directions. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Place 5-6 artichoke heart quarters in a large food processor. Add 2 tbsp of the brine from the artichoke jar into the food processor and set aside the remaining artichoke hearts. Add the garlic, honey, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. Blitz until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and whisk in the olive oil and red wine vinegar. Set aside until ready to serve.
- Place the kale in a large bowl. Add the pasta, blackberries, salami, proscuitto, capicola, roasted red peppers, olives and the reserved artichoke hearts to the bowl. Pour the dressing over top and toss to disperse and coat.
- Pile the salad onto a large platter and place the ball of burrata in the center. Drizzle some additional olive oil over the top of the burrata and serve immediately alongside slices of sourdough bread.