By using the plant-based fat from a ripe avocado, instead of refined oil, I've made a winter kale salad that's deeply satisfying and rich in phytonutrients. Using the simple ratio of an acid, a fat, a sodium and a sweet, you can make countless variations of this simple base recipe. Pomegranate seeds add a nice seasonal touch and crunch, and toasted pecans provide a little protein boost.
In a medium saute pan set over medium heat, toast the pecans until fragrant and lightly browned. While the pecans are toasting, prepare the pomegranate. Cut the pomegranate in half, along the equator. Hold a cut half over a bowl, and knock the seeds out with a wooden spoon. Repeat for the other half.
Strip the kale leaves from the tough stems. Coarsely chop and add to a large mixing bowl.
Remove the toasted pecans to a cutting board, and coarsely chop. Set aside.To prepare the avocado, cut around the seed, twist in opposing directions to pull apart, remove and discard the pit, and coarsely chop. Add the avocado to the kale.Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the kale mixture. Season with salt, to taste. Gently massage the salad with your hands, breaking up the avocado and distributing the lemon juice and salt.Mince the shallot and add to the salad. Add the pomegranate seeds and pecans (reserving a small amount for plating), and toss to combine.
To plate the salad, shave the English cucumber lengthwise with a mandoline. On a plate, arrange a few slices into a ring, and mound one serving of the salad inside the ring. Garnish with additional pomegranate seeds and pecans, and serve immediately.