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Chopped Kale Salad with Spicy Anchovy Dressing, Gouda & Toasted Hazelnuts

01/17/2012 | Food | 3 comments

I finally got around to trying out Brooklyn based Five Leaves Cafe’s recipe for their chopped kale salad earlier today, and it definitely did not disappoint.  GQ featured this recipe in their most recent issue, and after a quick bit of precursory Googling I can see that some fellow food bloggers out there have also shown this dish some love  (and for good reason). Not only is kale insanely good for you (filled with Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus,Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese) but it also thrives in winter months, so it is a great ingredient to start incorporating into your diet once the winter blues settle in. Much like my last post, this is a great dish that takes advantage of winter produce that you can find fresh and locally grown right now here in Southern Ontario.

 

The combination of earthy kale, spicy Sriracha, toasted hazelnuts and salty anchovy makes for one tasty salad, and all that gouda certainly doesn’t hurt either. While you may be hesitant to start working with anchovies at home, do remember that this under appreciated little guy is actually one of the crucial ingredients in a good, scratch made caesar salad. In The Man Who Ate Everything Jeffrey Steingarten jokes about his habit of asking his waiter for extra anchovies when ordering a caesar salad in order to determine whether or not the restaurant is actually making their dressing in house. While most of us out there probably don’t scrutinize our salad’s fixings quite so intensely, I still say its important to open your mind up to such ingredients. When balanced properly against the other ingredients in the dressing, the addition of anchovies won’t impart the overpowering fishy flavor which you may be programmed to expect, but rather a much needed savory element that will round out your meal’s flavor profile just right.

Here’s how you can bring it all together in your kitchen:

  1. Break down your kale, removing thick stems and then slicing into long, thin ribbons (real, actual chefs refer to this a chiffonade, apparently).
  2. Combine the following ingredients in your food processor and pulse until the dressing becomes creamy and uniform in appearance. I have gone ahead and cut down the original recipe’s portions by half to result in a more reasonable serving size.
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • 1/4 cup of milk
    • 3 anchovies
    • 1 TBSP Sriracha Sauce
    • 1/2 lemon, juiced & zested
    • 1/2 lime, juiced & zested
    • .5 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 egg yolk
    • .5 TBSP sherry or red wine vinegar
    • 3 TBSP shredded gouda
    • 3/4 cup olive oil
    • season to taste with a pinch of salt, pepper, and sugar.
  3. Toast hazelnuts in cast iron pan until fragrant. Use as many as you feel necessary, and don’t let anyone ever tell you that there is such a thing as too many hazelnuts.
  4. Dress chopped kale and finish with toasted hazelnuts & more shredded gouda. The original recipe calls for aged gouda, but I opted for smoked gouda since I am a big fan of anything and everything that is both smoky and spicy. Feel free to go with your instincts on that one though.
The key to this recipe is most undoubtedly the raw kale. Since raw kale is strong enough to hold up against the very bold dressing, its also hearty enough to base an entire meal around. There aren’t many salads I would be excited about basing a main course around, but this one certainly fits the bill. Especially if you opt to add some crumbled bacon to really set things off.

 

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