Kale Salad (The Start of Thanksgiving Menu Planning)

As many of you know, I love Thanksgiving Dinner and I especially love the month prior to Thanksgiving when I spend time menu planning and debating about turkeys. Well, the turkey question has been solved for this year. We are sticking with Goffle Road Poultry Farm located in Wyckoff, NJ (very close to my mother’s house).

With the arrival of the November Food and Wine Magazine, I have started plotting and planning recipes to try out in anticipation of Thanksgiving. Here is a great one tried last week: Kale and Apple salad. While I loved my fall salad I’ve used the last couple years, this is a great twist, with tasty kale! I’m thinking this will have a place at this year’s Thanksgiving table.

Kale and Apple Salad (adapted from Food and Wine)

What You Need
– 2 cups pecans
– 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– Kosher salt
– 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
– 2 tablespoons caper brine (from a jar of capers)
– 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
– Freshly ground black pepper
– 2 apples, cut into matchsticks (the recipe calls for Granny Smith)
– 1 large head radicchio, shredded (we didn’t use this, but I will next time!)
– One 8-ounce bunch kale—stems discarded, leaves finely shredded
– 3 tablespoons snipped chives (we didn’t use this, but I will next time)
– 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon (we didn’t use this, but I will next time)
– 2 ounces shaved pecorino (we didn’t use this, but I will next time)

What You Do
So, here is how the recipe asks you to prepare the pecans:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. In a bowl, cover the pecans with water.
3. Transfer to a sieve and shake out the water.
3. In another bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, cayenne and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
4. Add the pecans and toss.
5. Transfer to a sieve and shake off the excess coating.
6. Arrange the pecans on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the sugar is lightly caramelized and the pecans are golden.

Here is how I did it. I’m going to try their way next time and see which one is best for Thanksgiving:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a pan.
2. Add 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar and melt.
3. Add and toss pecans for 1 minutes.
4. Arrange coated pecans on parchment paper until cool.

Then, make the dressing:
1. Whisk in the olive oil, vinegar, caper brine and maple syrup and season the dressing with salt and black pepper.

And finally, assemble the salad:
1. Add the apples, radicchio, kale, chives, tarragon and pecorino and toss. Mound the salad on plates, garnish with the pecans and serve.

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