Sunday, July 7, 2013

Kale salad with pickled watermelon rind

     There's a restaurant in Atlanta called MetroFresh. It's an amazing delicious and fairly inexpensive place to eat. The menu changes daily and it's always healthy. They also list all the allergens so that if you're on a restrictive diet you can easily pick and choose. If I lived closer I would probably eat here everyday. They have a kale salad there which is SO delicious. It's the perfect combination of earthy kale, tangy vinegar, and sweet fruit. However, for the longest time I could not figure out what the fruit was. There was the very obvious dried cranberries but there was also this pale white fruit with an almost candy-like taste and texture. Finally one day at lunch my curiosity got the best of me and it turns out though delicious little fruits were pickled watermelon rind!
    The other day we had a cookout and bought a giant watermelon. As I was cutting up the leftovers to put in the fridge I kept looking at the rind thinking what a waste. Then I remembered the pickled watermelon rind in the kale salad!! After a quick internet search I realized most pickled watermelon rind requires canning supplies and lots of time, neither of which I had (or really ever will haha). So a few more minutes of searching and I found the following recipe for pickled watermelon rind. It takes about 20 minutes of prep but it has to cool and sit awhile before you get the best flavor. I stored mine in a tupperware in the fridge and it keeps for about 10 days. We ate it with the kale salad and by itself! We went out of town before we could finish it all so I divided it into freezer baggies and froze it, I'll let you know how its texture holds up.

Kale Salad with Pickled Watermelon Rind

  • 1 quart watermelon rind (including ½-inch of red flesh left on the rind), cut into pieces about 1-inch square (about half the rind of a small watermelon and 1/3 the rind of a large)
  • 1 cup vinegar (white vinegar or cider vinegar)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons table sal
  • 1 star anise (I did not have this, no one cried)
  • 1 two-inch piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped (did not have this either I added a couple dashes or powdered ginger)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon 
  • Kale (as much as you want for your salad)
  • olive oil
  • dash of balsamic vinegar  
  1. First pickle your watermelon rind following the steps here. I tried using a vegetable peeler to peel my watermelon but it wasn't working very well so I just used a knife.  I also used apple cider vinegar because I did not have white vinegar.  It still tasted great.
  1. After you have your pickled watermelon rind, wash kale and remove the tough stems (I do this  by folding it in half and cutting down the one side with the leaf).
  2. "Massage" the kale with enough olive oil to lightly coat all leaves
  3.  Add a dash of balsamic vinegar, less is more, you can always taste and add more if you want. 
  4. Dice pickled watermelon rind into smaller pieces ( I like it about 1/4" to 1/2" thick) and add to salad. Toss to combine. 
  5. Add any dried fruits or slivered almonds if you would like. I just ate mine with the watermelon rind. 
  6. ENJOY :)

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