Photos by 
Jessicarobyn Keyser
Jessicarobyn Keyser

My Son Was a College Sports Hot Shot, But I'm Most Proud of Him For This Kale Salad

by 
Elise Seyfried
March 3, 2022

All my life, I’ve tried to love sports, but sports never loved me back. From being eternally the last one picked for kickball, through the high school gym classes I dreaded, I soon learned that I was no athlete. But surely I could appreciate a game well played, no?

Nope! I married a sports-loving guy, and at first, I sat with him on the sofa as he cheered and jeered for various televised football, baseball, and basketball competitions. No amount of concentration brought me to a mental place where I could describe one second of the action, or name one of the teams, even immediately after the broadcast.

So when my five kids came along, all of them sporty, I did my due diligence, driving them from soccer fields to swimming pools to tennis courts. However, my years of sideline viewing sparked no interest. My biggest sports buff was my third son, Patrick. By the time he was in college, he was captain of his university lacrosse team and was an enthusiastic player of many other sports.

My true love, it turned out, lay not on the playing field, but in the kitchen. I adored cooking, and when I wasn’t whipping up a fancy meal, I was reading cookbooks and back issues of Gourmet magazine. Several of my children also showed interest in preparing food, but not Pat. He was primarily interested in consumption, not production. I have no clear memory of cooking or baking adventures with him when he was little, and after a while, I just assumed he had no desire to cook.

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But suddenly, one summer, Patrick took a job in a restaurant (a very nice place in New Hope, Pennsylvania, owned by a friend’s father). He began as a busboy, but then migrated to the kitchen. He became a line cook and found he really enjoyed food prep. He got his degree in education and tried teaching for a while, but always ended up back in a restaurant. Over the years, he rose through the ranks to become an executive chef. The kid who had never made more than a bowl of Cheerios at home was now inventing complicated dishes for very happy customers. Finally, Patrick and I had found common ground!

Nowadays, we talk often about dishes and ingredients, and whenever Pat’s home, I love to ask him to fix part of our meal. He slices and chops and sautés like the pro he is, and I have learned quite a few techniques from watching him at work. At his current restaurant in Bryn Mawr, the menu boasts several Seyfried specialties, all very popular items. He recently came up with a phenomenal salad featuring roasted kale, pepitas, goat cheese, chiles, and apples with a maple-bacon vinaigrette. It’s a perfect addition to any dinner, and weirdly works just as well eaten on the couch while everyone else is watching some sportsball thing.

Recipe by Patrick Seyfried

Note: The bacon fat makes this dressing exceptional, but very little is needed, so this is a great recipe to make when you're already making bacon for another dish.

Roasted Kale Salad With Maple Bacon Vinaigrette

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Serves 4 as a side, 1 as a meal

Ingredients

For the maple bacon vinaigrette

3 tbsp pure maple syrup

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar 

1 1/2 tbsp Dijon Mustard 

1 1/2 tsp bacon fat

1 shallot, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

12 stalks of kale

2 Fresno chiles

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup toasted pepitas

1 cup julienned Granny Smith apple

1 cup finely julienned red onion

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

 | 
 | 
Serves 4 as a side, 1 as a meal

Ingredients

For the maple bacon vinaigrette

3 tbsp pure maple syrup

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar 

1 1/2 tbsp Dijon Mustard 

1 1/2 tsp bacon fat

1 shallot, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

12 stalks of kale

2 Fresno chiles

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup toasted pepitas

1 cup julienned Granny Smith apple

1 cup finely julienned red onion

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Ingredients

For the maple bacon vinaigrette

3 tbsp pure maple syrup

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar 

1 1/2 tbsp Dijon Mustard 

1 1/2 tsp bacon fat

1 shallot, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

For the salad

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

12 stalks of kale

2 Fresno chiles

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup toasted pepitas

1 cup julienned Granny Smith apple

1 cup finely julienned red onion

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Directions

For the maple bacon vinaigrette

Puree all ingredients but the oil in a blender. Once combined, drizzle in oil slowly as the blender runs to emulsify. Alternatively, a simple bowl and whisk will do the trick as well.

For the salad

1. Toss the julienned apple in the apple cider vinegar to marinate.

2. Wash and rinse the kale, and then spin it dry in a salad spinner. (Alternatively you can use paper towels.) Using your hands, tear the kale from the stems into large bite-sized pieces Discard stems or save for another use.

3. Place the torn, dried kale on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and a generous sprinkle of salt. Toss to combine, add the pepitas, and toss again. 

4. Roast in a pre-heated 475F oven for 5 minutes on the center rack, pausing once halfway to both toss and redistribute the kale and turn the pan. After 5 minutes and without opening the oven door, switch the oven to “broil” and broil on high for 2-3 minutes until the leaves just begin to crisp and color. Remove from the oven to cool. 

5. Toss the cooled kale and pepitas with onion and apple, and then dress to coat. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Top with goat cheese, cranberries, and sliced chiles, and serve extra dressing on the side.

About the Author

Elise Seyfried

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