One of my favorite Portland hangout spots is The Bitter End. I've mentioned this place a couple times before and for good reason. It's a soccer sports pub with a relaxing interior, super friendly service and a seriously good menu. One of my favorite menu items is the kale + grapefruit salad with garlic oil, diced potatoes, fresh grapefruit, chili flake and fried chickpeas. It's such an interesting and exciting mix of fresh flavors and textures.  

The other night I caught myself daydreaming about this salad, but unwilling to put on pants and leave the house, I decided to create my own version at home. 

I have a hard time calling my creation a salad. It's a few leaves of sauteed kale overtaken by morsels of yum. This is the kind of salad that I can eat for dinner. It's filling, satisfying and didn't leave me saying, "where's the meat?!" 

Part of what makes this salad so great is the caramelized onions. I think if you added caramelized onions to a stew of rubber boots and woods chips it would taste really great. Caramelized onions are magical ingredients. 

I ended up cooking these onions a little fast in the interest of time so they got a tad dark. They were still tasty. 

Roasted potatoes are also magical ingredients. I love turning the cheap and dirty vegetable into a pan-full of light brown, crispy bites of flavor. The roasted potatoes are a huge reason why this salad is suitable as a main dinner dish.  

I then added a bunch of other good stuff.

This good stuff included blueberries, cherry tomatoes, avocado and a citrus balsamic vinaigrette. 

All five sense were stimulated when experiencing this salad:

  • Sight - color and texture wonderland: deep purple blueberries, shiny, bright red tomatoes and bumpy green kale leaves. 
  • Smell - two words: caramelized onions. 
  • Taste - the same two words, plus everything else. 
  • Touch - so many diverse textures and temperatures: creamy, cool avocado, warm, crispy potatoes and bursting berries.
  • Hearing - the sound of John and I guzzling and gobbling every last bite. 

Kale Salad Suggecipe

  • bunch of kale - cut bite-size
  • 2-3 russet potatoes - cut bite-size
  • 1 sweet onion - cut into thin strips
  • other good stuff, such as:
    • blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, avocado, tomatoes, carrots, peas, beans, nuts, tofu, etc.
  • olive oil
  • s + p
  • citrus balsamic vinaigrette
    • olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, honey, s + p

Begin by tossing the potatoes in olive oil, s + p. Place on a sheet pan and put into a preheated 400 degree oven for 35-45 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, add the onions and olive oil to a skillet over low/medium-low heat until caramelized (note: adding a pinch of sugar reduces the time it takes the onions to caramelize). In a separate skillet, add the kale, s + p and olive oil over medium heat and cook until slightly wilted. Chop the rest of the 'good stuff'. When everything is done, combine into a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette. 

To make the vinaigrette, I usually combine equal parts oil and vinegar. Then splash and pinch until it tastes good. 

It's so fun to taste something you love that was created by someone else, then go off and try to recreate it with your own personal spin? Does anyone else like to do this? What have you tried to recreate? 

Special thanks to The Bitter End for this salad inspiration! 

AuthorMolly Streuli