We wanted something light to start the picnic, so Kulture's Dawn Burrell, a University of Houston graduate and Olympic long jumper who’s become one of the brightest stars in the local culinary scene, gave us the perfect salad, complete with a streak of Southern comfort thanks to a base of some strong collard greens.
Standing up to the dense greens is a Senegalese-inspired peanut vinaigrette that dances on the tongue with a splash of fish sauce and just a few chile flakes. You’ll want to dress this salad copiously, trust us.
“It travels well,” says Burrell. “Collard greens are really, really hearty, and I think they give the dish that nice flavor balance: a perfect combination of richness and light, refreshing notes.”
- 1 T sugar
- 1 T salt
- 1 c cucumber, thinly sliced on angle
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 c red onions, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch collard greens, rinsed and dried 1 c peanut vinaigrette (recipe follows)
- 1 avocado, cubed
- 1/2 c peanuts, crushed
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, crumbled
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Combine sugar and salt, then split mixture in half.
- Toss cucumbers in 1 T of the sugar/salt mixture. Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse and drain on paper towel.
- Sprinkle the other 1 T of sugar/salt mixture on tomatoes, and set aside to marinade. Do not rinse tomatoes.
- Rinse onions under cold running water for 10 minutes or until plump and bitterness is gone. Place on paper towel to dry.
- Cut collard greens into 1 1⁄2-inch pieces. Place greens into a large bowl, and season with salt to taste. Add half of the peanut vinaigrette and massage into the collard greens to soften and wilt a bit.
- Toss in tomatoes and cucumbers.
- Place into serving bowl and garnish with remaining ingredients and more dressing, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Peanut vinaigrette ingredients:
- 2/3 c skinless peanuts (tree nuts or seeds can substitute)
- 5 T cane vinegar or white balsamic vinegar 11⁄2 T lime juice
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 shallot, sliced
- 1.5 T turbinado sugar
- 1/2 T salt
- 1 T fish sauce or crawfish powder 1 tsp chile flakes
- 1 c water
- 1 c olive oil
Peanut vinaigrette instructions:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Toast peanuts in oven until fragrant. Allow to cool.
- Place vinegar, lime juice, garlic, shallots, sugar, salt, fish sauce, and chile flakes into a blender, and blend until smooth.
- Add peanuts and water. Blend until bro- ken down. Add more water if necessary. While blender is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until emulsified.
- Adjust seasoning to taste.