When I was a little girl, nothing made me happier than a heaping plate of horta – a Greek peasant dish of boiled dandelion greens dressed with lemon and olive oil and salt. A funny sight, I’m sure, a six-year-old reverently diving into a plate of weeds, but I can’t help it. I love green vegetables.
(I suppose people have worse affections.)
My fridge keeps the usual suspects: a head of kale, containers of spinach and baby greens, and bunches of mustard greens and butter lettuce.
Tonight’s Tuesday visit to Riverdale made me squeal delightfully, though – sea asparagus! A salt-loving wild green harvested seasonally along British Columbia’s coast, it’s like a tiny-fingered green bean that’s been injected with saline. Crisp and surprising and fleeting, and completely the kind of vegetable you scoop up when it makes a market appearance.
I knew its fate straight away: used in place of salt in a simple kale salad, massaged with ripe avocado and lemon juice. Kale – surprisingly enough – is delicious raw, but it benefits from a bit of coaxing with some lemon juice to soften the hardy leaves. Against the salty, crunchy sea asparagus and dressed with avocado, it was a perfect summer dinner.
(makes two servings)
Massaging kale sounds kind of silly, but it’s actually very therapeutic and makes a big difference in the salad’s texture. Get your hands right in the bowl and give it a rub – plus it makes for really soft hands, between the lemon and avocado!
1 bunch kale (curly or Tuscan or lacinato or dinosaur – whatever’s prettiest that day)
1 small very ripe avocado, roughly diced
juice of 1 lemon
sea salt to taste (or 1/2c sea asparagus, blanched lightly and chopped finely)
Tear or cut the kale into bite-size pieces, discarding the tough stems. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and give them a good smoosh with the kale until the avocado and lemon become a creamy dressing. Taste a piece of kale for texture – it should be crisp but yielding – and add salt, if needed. Plate and serve.