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Nathan Foot's Kale Salad

(recipe, Rob Patronite & Robin Raisfeld)


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Introduction

Redbor kale is a fantastically frilly but super-hardy hybrid kale that comes in a magnificent shade of Crayola magenta (or is it fuchsia?) and is grown as often for ornamental purposes as it is for eating. But don't let that stop you from tossing it into a salad, like the one from New York's Northern Spy Food Co. (Its former chef Nathan Foot typically used the crinkly-leafed cavolo nero_ variety, but his method applies just as well to other types.) It's funny to think that, not so long ago, offering a pile of raw kale to the general dining public was tantamount to offering them a bale of hay. Not so in these kale-crazed days. The trick is cutting the leaves into thin strips and hand-mixing them vigorously with olive oil, salt, and lemon juice, as if you were shampooing a Labradoodle, which has a delicious tenderizing effect.

Ingredients

  1. 2½ cups Redbor kale
  2. 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  3. 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  4. Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  5. ¼ cup toasted almonds, halved
  6. ¼ cup crumbled Cabot clothbound Cheddar cheese (or any good-quality, well-aged Cheddar)
  7. ½ cup cubed, seasoned, and roasted kabocha squash
  8. Percorino Romano cheese, to taste

Steps

  1. Cut off the bottom stems from the kale and discard. Remove stems for the individual leaves by folding each leaf in half and cutting away the stem at the fold. Stack several stemmed leaves together at a time, roll stack into a tight cylinder, and slice cylinder crosswise at ¼-inch intervals. Put the resulting kale strips in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and, using your hands, mix well.
  2. Mix in the almonds, Cheddar, and squash. Divide salad onto 2 plates. Finely grate pecorino over each portion.