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Kale Salad with Smoked Almonds and Picada Crumbs

6 Servings

15 minutes

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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.




Don’t slice the kale until you’re ready to make the salad; it will wilt. You can, however, stem, wash and dry it ahead of time.

15 minutes


  • 2

    shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 5

    tablespoons sherry vinegar


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Eric A.
May 21, 2023
Great recipe. I didn't have sherry vinegar, so I substituted red wine vinegar. As the other reviewer mentioned, it takes much longer than 15 minutes, at least double.
Laura F.
February 11, 2023
A Favorite!
We love this recipe! I use Zeppole sourdough from our local Boise bakery. The kale truly transforms to a rich dark color as you massage it. Tastes fancy and healthy!!
Mary S.
February 1, 2023
Cathy B.
August 27, 2023
Breadcrumbs super interesting, but maybe missing a step
I love the idea of flavoring the breadcrumbs yourself. And, paprika is my favorite. But mine never got hard. Well - my first batch burnt completely (skillet had to be rushed outside kind of burnt). So I carefully monitored and timed the second batch - they remained soft. I might just toast in the oven, like normal.
Tamara G.

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.

Tatiana R.

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).