So I know I just posted a kale salad recipe, but you can never have too much raw kale in your diet, kiddies.
And while that one was really more of a slaw composed of half kale and half Brussels sprouts, this one is a true salad with kale standing in for lettuce leaves, roasted cubes of butternut squash, toasted almonds, and crumbled aged cheddar. What’s common to both is that you feel supremely virtuous eating them. And since kale is so stubbornly hearty, in both cases the salads can (and should) be dressed in advance and eaten for a couple of days that way.
This recipe, which comes from a restaurant in the East Village that I’ve never been to and will most likely never go to, mentions a specific brand of aged cheddar to use, Cabot clothbound, and I wasn’t going to, just on principle. But when I asked the cheesemonger for an aged cheddar, that was precisely the one he pulled out, and before I could object he was shaving off some hefty slabs for me to taste, and once I tasted it and it was delicious, well how could I say no? Why would I say no? The recipe also called for some optional Pecorino for grating on top, which I optioned out of because I’d overdosed on cheese to the point of nausea the night before (it happens), but I’m sure the extra cheese would’ve made this salad even more divine, to state the obvious. But as was, it was perfect. Even the husband liked it (“Wow, I’m surprised at how good this is”) and he professes to not like kale. I’m in the process of turning him around. And now I might be one of those people (assuming these people exist) who use kale instead of romaine for their salads and feel secretly superior to their peers.
In fact, I guess I’m already one of those people. I made another kale salad just last night, with diced apples, cucumbers, walnuts, and more of that excellent cheddar, which I dressed in a lemon-mustard vinaigrette and ate so much of I may just be kaled out. For now, at least.
Northern Spy’s Kale Salad, adapted from Food52
- 1 small butternut squash
- 1 bunch dinosaur or lacinato kale
- 1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup crumbled age cheddar, like Cabot clothbound (if you can’t find a good aged cheddar, use Parmesan)
- Pecorino or other hard cheese for shaving (optional)
- extra-virgin olive oil
- lemon juice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel and dice the butternut squash into 1-inch pieces. Toss the squash with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread in an even layer onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash is lightly caramelized and can be easily pierced with a knife.
- When the squash has about 10 minutes left, spread the chopped almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, stem, wash, and dry the kale, and tear or chop it into small pieces. Set it aside in a large bowl.
- Add the almonds, crumbled cheddar, and as much squash as you want (you’ll have some left over), and toss it all together with olive oil (about 2 to 3 tablespoons) and lemon juice (about 1 to 2 tablespoons), and salt and pepper to taste. Top with the shaved Pecorino, if using.
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