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Kale Salad with Smoked Almonds and Picada Crumbs
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.
shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
tablespoons sherry vinegar
01In a small bowl, whisk together the shallots, vinegar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Allow to sit 10 minutes. Whisk in the honey, 5 tablespoons of the oil and ½ teaspoon pepper; set aside.
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Great salad. I don't know how anyone can make this in 15 minutes, though. It probably took me an hour and a half end-to-end. The processing of the kale probably took the longest.
I didn't have any sweet paprika but I had a lot of the smoked kind, so I used it and instead of the smoked almonds, I used the regular kind.
For bread, I used the Whole Foods' store brand sourdough. I think it gave the crumbs a very good flavor, and because it's not from an artisanal bakery or anything, the crust was soft and thin, suitable for being chopped up in the food processor. No issues at all (I was worried).
The crispy, tiny savory bread crumbs in the salad were delicious and fun. Making the crumbs was easy and I learned a new cooking technique.