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King Tide Kale Salad with Microgreens

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Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.
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From SC Chef Ambassador Marcus Shell and King Tide Farms

Chef Marcus Shell, 2023 South Carolina Chef Ambassador, firmly believes if you’re not learning, you’re not growing. His desire to grow within the industry has pushed him to discover locally produced, seasonal ingredients and figure out innovative ways to incorporate them into new and classic dishes.

“My favorite part of cooking is that it translates worldwide,” says Shell. “Once you understand the foundation of it, which is technique, you can translate ingredients from any region in the world. I can still do French-style cooking with Southern ingredients. It’s all about execution.”

The executive chef of 39 Rue de Jean in Charleston, Shell got his start in the family kitchen with his mom, who taught him to cook. His first culinary triumph? Perfecting scrambled eggs in the microwave. Years later, he became a breakfast cook at a coffee shop in downtown New Bedford, MA.

“The atmosphere was chaotic, and I was comfortable in the chaos,” Shell says of his early experiences in the restaurant industry. “The growth process is a little gruesome, but you start to evolve, and you start to appreciate who you’re becoming.”

Chef Marcus Shell in the kitchen at Rue de Jean
Drawn to the kitchen from a young age, Chef Marcus Shell is comfortable under pressure and amid the organized chaos.

When South Carolina’s chefs and farmers come together, they create more than just great food—they create great communities.

“It’s about supporting the people around us that support us every single day. It restores the balance of a community,” says Shell.

When it comes to his cooking, Shell endeavors to ignite the imagination of his patrons, revealing the creative process of making something new. It comes as no surprise that Shell collaborates with King Tide Farms, a hydroponics smart farm in Charleston, SC, which operates in a repurposed shipping container.

“I’m actually a third-generation farmer, so it’s technically in my blood,” says Hamilton Horne, owner and operator of King Tide Farms. “Until now, my experience has been with row crops. Here, the plants are getting the optimal environment they need to grow. We control the temperature of the air and water, how much carbon dioxide there is, even the humidity levels.”

Using less than five gallons of water a day, they grow 15,000 plants. The controlled environment ensures year-round production of high-quality ingredients like artisanal lettuces, unusual leafy greens, exotic herbs and various microgreens. Each plant, traceable from seed to consumption, is delivered within hours of harvesting.

“Hamilton specializes in small versions of everything, and when he’s excited to tell me about something new he’s growing, we literally just stand at the table and eat greens,” says Shell. The microgreens produced by King Tide Farms may be small, but they pack a flavorful punch. “If you think about making a sauce and when you let it reduce, all the flavor concentrates. That’s the kind of flavor that I get from these smaller leafy greens that he’s created specifically for my requests.”


King Tide Kale Salad with Microgreens

top down tabletop view of the King Tide Kale Salad at Rue de Jean in Charleston
The kale base of the Green Goddess dressing complements the salad while the champagne vinegar and olive oil provide a bit of complexity.

“This salad is a great example of complex flavors that are perfectly balanced. Every part of this dish has depth: the peppery flavor of the kale is balanced with a little bit of acidity and salt, the microgreens are packed with flavor and add a pop of color to the dish, while the green goddess dressing adds another level of complexity.”


Green Goddess Dressing

4 oz champagne vinegar
8 oz blended olive oil
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 ½ cups cleaned and chopped kale 
¼ cup chive and parsley

Add all ingredients to a blender on medium-high until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Cracked Pepper Mascarpone

8 oz mascarpone
10 oz heavy cream
1.5 oz cracked black pepper
Salt to taste

In a mixing bowl, add your mascarpone and heavy cream. With a whisk, whip until smooth. Then add salt and black pepper and mix to combine.


Microgreens Salad

16 oz of microgreens or your favorite greens
3 oz of each fruit
1 English cucumber, shaved
2 thinly sliced radishes


This dish was created to be a local microgreens sale, highlighting kale with blueberries and blackberries.

Unfortunately, not everyone has access to a cool microgreen farmer, so don't be afraid to use your favorite greens.

Although originally made with blueberries and blackberries, the salad is meant to be seasonal, so substitute them with your preference of seasonal fruit.

Use a peeler to shave the English cucumber, slicing out the seeds to prevent added moisture and texture.

Mix the microgreens, fruit, cucumber and radish together and gently fold in the dressing to keep the greens crispy.

To plate, spread the mascarpone on the dish and top with the mixed microgreens and cucumber.

Discover Writer
Discover Writer
More from "Discover Writer"
Discover writers share all of the places, activities and adventure that South Carolina has to offer. Read more from some of South Carolina’s locals and discover what’s happening in the Palmetto State.