A green salad is a welcome counterpoint to the many heavy meats, starchy sides and rich desserts that crowd holiday tables. We like kale, which is both flavorful and seasonal, a prime candidate for a winter salad. But when eaten raw, the hardy leaves can be unpleasantly tough. We started with lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur or Tuscan kale. Its long blue-green leaves are sweeter and tenderer than curly kale. Slicing the greens thinly was the first step in making them more salad-friendly. Then, to soften them further, we borrowed a Japanese technique used on raw cabbage — massaging the leaves. An acidic shallot-sherry vinaigrette also helped to soften and brighten the kale (look for a sherry vinegar aged at least 3 years). Intensely flavorful paprika breadcrumbs, inspired by the Catalan sauce picada, tied everything together.
Thinner, lighter and more nimble than European knives, these two Milk Street Kikuichi Japanese knives + Christopher Kimball 6" Nakiri will dramatically improve your kitchen prep skills.