I’ve been eating kale since before it was trendy, but the kale salad at the UNC Rex Healthcare cafeteria is outstanding, with dried cranberries and a light citrus vinaigrette. Could you please see if the chef would share the recipe?
I’ve eaten it several times since I’ve been at Rex often with family members. The last time I was in line to get some, the doctor in front of me got the last serving and didn’t even leave a cranberry!
Chef Ryan Conklin said the hospital has served kale salads for the last four years with several variations on the rotation. All of them are among the most requested recipes by the cafe guests and visitors, Conklin said.
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This particular version was created as a fresh side dish to serve with the cafe’s grilled pork tenderloin medallions and is served about every two weeks. Conklin said it was inspired by the classic Waldorf salad with apples, celery and walnuts.
“With the addition of the fresh kale, this salad is very nutrient dense,” Conklin, 38, wrote in an email. “The feta cheese gives it a nice depth of creaminess as well, which pairs well with the walnuts and cranberries.”
Conklin is a Culinary Institute of America graduate and reigning statewide champion of the Competition Dining Series. The contest pits local chefs against each other in a three-course, secret ingredient cook-off where diners and judges choose the winners. Conklin won the Triangle contest and then took the state title last year.
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UNC Rex Healthcare Cafeteria
4420 Lake Boone Trail, Raleigh
Kale Salad with Citrus Walnut Vinaigrette
From Chef Ryan Conklin of UNC Rex Hospital in Raleigh.
1/2 cup orange juice
3/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly chopped tarragon
1 1/2 pounds kale
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine orange juice, olive oil, walnuts, mustard, orange zest, sugar, lemon juice, cider vinegar, tarragon in a medium-sized bowl and whisk until smooth.
Wash and trim kale. Place in a large bowl and pour dressing over it. Massage dressing into kale with hands and let sit for two to three hours. Add cranberries, apples and cheese and toss well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: 12-15 servings.