As the Downtown L.A. scene continues to evolve, an exciting new restaurant has emerged in the Arts District. Di Alba is the brainchild of the team behind NYC favorite The Smile and Chef Nina Clemente. Already known for its rustic focaccia breads, hearty grain bowls, and inventive salads, this sit-down and take-away spot is gaining a cult following in the neighborhood. We asked them to share the recipe for their easy-to-replicate power salad. “This salad combines the earthy punch of kale with the sweetness of fennel and pomegranate and a touch of spice from the watermelon radish,” says Chef Nina Clemente. “The dressing provides great acid to round out and meld the ingredients. It’s a fun textural experience and gives you a power kick for the rest of the day. Plus, that deep massage on the kale also relieves some tension. The dish is fun to make and tantalizing for the taste buds.”
Power Salad (Serves 2-3)
– 2 bunches Tuscan/Lacinato kale
– 1 watermelon radish
– 1 bulb fennel
– 4 tbl. pomegranate seeds
– 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
– 1 shallot (finely minced)
– 1 tbl. apple cider vinegar
– 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
– Salt to taste
Whisk lemon, shallot, apple cider vinegar and salt and let sit for 5 minutes. Then, whisk in olive oil.
Remove stems from kale, and chop leaves into 1 inch pieces. Peel watermelon radish, and slice paper thin. Cut fennel in half, and trim out core. Thinly slice and place in ice water. Add kale to a large bowl and vigorously massage with dressing until tender. Don’t stop massaging until the kale is really tender (this is a very important element of making this salad good!). Add the watermelon radish, drained fennel, and pomegranate seeds. Season with half a squeezed lemon and salt to taste. Serve immediately—though this salad holds quite well. Toppings like shaved ricotta salata or fresh breadcrumbs make for hearty additions.