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Oregon Home Grown Chef: Greens and Blues

blues salad

A salad to cure the blues

written by Thor Erickson | photos by Jenn Redd

“The band will cook their own dinner in your kitchen,” read the band’s rider. “Buddy Guy and his band require the following special ingredients—Catfish, Bacon, Onion, Collard greens—these must be true collard greens—no substitutions!”

“Collard greens?” my produce sales rep asked me over the phone with a worried voice.

“Yes!” I demanded. “Get them here!”

For several years in the ’90s, I was the chef at a restaurant/athletic club that, in the summer, became a popular outdoor concert venue. By this time, I was no stranger to special requests. I had the pleasure to cook for many artists from many musical genres. The blues musicians were the ones I liked best. For these musicians, the after-show meal was just as important, if not more so, than the show they had just put on. BB King wanted ribs—no sauce, just salt and pepper. Taj Mahal wanted spit-roasted chicken, while Robert Cray preferred grilled salmon. Nevertheless, the common request from all of these blues legends was greens, and lots of them—from kale and mustard greens to turnip and collard greens. They liked these greens cooked with ham or bacon, onion or garlic for long periods of time—the taste and smell was fantastic. These tough bitter greens became velvety, savory and satisfying.
Buddy Guy and his band were wrapping up the third set of a great show and I had yet to see the requested collard greens. I was nervous. The band walked off stage and into the kitchen ready to get to work. I broke the news that I did not have the collards. The bass player refused to look me in the eye and the drummer proceeded to prepare the catfish while cursing my name.

I did not have collards, but I did have other greens. I went to work. I made a salad from kale, red cabbage and some parsley. I added some toasted almonds, green apple, blue cheese and a quick apple cider vinaigrette. While not a classic pairing with fried catfish, Buddy and the guys were delighted with the quick recovery and asked for the recipe so they could prepare it after future concerts. Late that night, when the band was leaving, Buddy gave me a hug and said, “When you got the blues, you gotta get the greens.”

Greens and Blues Salad

recipe by Thor Erickson

Yields1 Serving

For Salad
1 bunch curly kale, washed, center stalks removed and cut into bite-size ribbons
¼ head red cabbage, sliced into ribbons
1 bunch flat leaf parsley leaves, washed
½ cup toasted sliced almonds
5 oz Rogue Creamery blue cheese, crumbled
2 Granny Smith apples, cut into matchsticks
For Cider Vinaigrette
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp dijon mustard
½ tsp sea salt

For Salad
1

Prep all salad ingredients and combine in a large bowl.

2

Combine salad with dressing and toss well.

For Cider Vinaigrette
3

Place all ingredients into a small bowl and stir until well combined.

Ingredients

For Salad
1 bunch curly kale, washed, center stalks removed and cut into bite-size ribbons
¼ head red cabbage, sliced into ribbons
1 bunch flat leaf parsley leaves, washed
½ cup toasted sliced almonds
5 oz Rogue Creamery blue cheese, crumbled
2 Granny Smith apples, cut into matchsticks
For Cider Vinaigrette
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
1 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp dijon mustard
½ tsp sea salt

Directions

For Salad
1

Prep all salad ingredients and combine in a large bowl.

2

Combine salad with dressing and toss well.

For Cider Vinaigrette
3

Place all ingredients into a small bowl and stir until well combined.

Greens and Blues Salad

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