There has been a lot of talk in the media lately about massaging kale. Strange – yes, but very important. Kale is so delicious when it’s prepared properly, meaning covered in bacon and massaged within an inch of its life. This kale salad is meant for gatherings – friends will ask for the recipe while they eat seconds and thirds. Originally this recipe included sugar ladden spicy pecans and pecorino shavings on top, by all means, do it the whichever way you’d like though I’ve amended it to be a bit healthier.
kale & apple salad with bacon vinaigrette & spicy pecans
adapted from food & wine
1 cup pecans
1 tbsp maple syrup + 3 tbsp
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 slices smokey bacon, thick sliced, cooked & diced
3 tbsp smokey bacon drippings
1 shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, grated/microplaned
2 tbsp grainy mustard (such as kozlik’s triple crunch)
2 tbsp caper brine (liquid from caper jar)
2 tbsp capers
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (I use champagne vinegar)
2 granny smith apples, skin-on, cored and julienned
1 large radicchio, shredded
1 large bunch of lacinato kale, stems removed and finely shredded
3 tbsp chives, rough chopped
3 tbsp tarragon, rough chopped
3 green onions, sliced thin
1/2 tsp pepper, fresh ground
In a saute pan on lowest setting, toast pecans with 1 tbsp maple syrup and cayenne – about 5 minutes, stirring to ensure they don’t burn. Remove from heat and reserve for salad.
To make vinaigrette, in a mason jar, combine olive oil, grainy mustard, bacon drippings, caper brine, capers, shallot, garlic, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Give the dressing a good shake to emulsify. Taste, if needed, add more vinegar, oil, salt or pepper to adjust.
To put salad together, combine kale and radicchio with vinaigrette – you may not need all of the dressing to coat salad. Using your (clean) hands toss the kale and radicchio (massage!) for a minute. Add apple, chives, tarragon, green onions, bacon and pecans and lightly toss. Season with salt & pepper.
Salad is best when it sits for about 10 minutes so all the flavours combine.