I was lucky to receive a particularly lovely cookbook for Christmas: In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark. I’m a big fan of the simple, flavorful recipes in her A Good Appetite column for the New York Times dining section, and this book delivers more of the same. We appear to share a love for topping just about any savory dish with a fried egg—in my opinion, the secret to a happy life.
Eggs aside, I was immediately drawn to this raw kale salad. Lacinato (also knows as black, Tuscan, or dino) kale makes a delicious do-ahead salad. The acid in lemon juice or vinegar actually improves the kale, making it possible to set a green salad on a buffet table and not fret as it wilts.
Not that it will have much time to wilt—trust me, this salad will be devoured wherever you take it. It has enough tang, salt, and bite to chase away chilly evenings and the skepticism of those who wrongly think that they don’t like kale.
Raw Tuscan Kale Salad wtih Chiles and Pecorino
From In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark
1 bunch Tuscan Kale (aka black or lacinato)
1 thin slice country bread (part whole wheat or rye is nice), or 1/4 c. good, homemade coarse bread crumbs
1/2 garlic clove
1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus a pinch
1/4 c. finely grated pecorino cheese, plus additional for garnish
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Trim the bottom two inches off the kale stems and discard. (Note: I also remove the ribs from each kale leaf.) Slice the kale into 3/4-inch ribbons. You should have 4-5 cups. Place the kale in a large bowl.
If using the bread, toast it until golden on both sides. Tear it into small pices and grind in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.
Using a mortar and pestle or a heavy knife, pound or mince the garlic and 1/4 tsp. salt into a paste (if using a knife, use the side to smear and smush the garlic once it’s minced). Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 c. cheese, 3 Tbsp. oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine.
Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well to combine thoroughly (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves). Let the salad sit for 5 minutes (Note: Or up to an hour), then serve topped with the bread crumbs, additional cheese, and a drizzle of oil.