A Kale Salad To Stand the Test of Time

A kale salad that won't wilt on your holiday table.

We all think we can multitask with ease.

We try to learn Spanish while sweating on the Stairmaster — and trying to write the great American novel in our head. We try to watch our favorite TV shows while balancing our checkbook — and knitting a sweater. And during the big holidays, we try to cook 10 dishes simultaneously from scratch that will all go on the table miraculously at once.

At times like that, there’s only one true salvation — kale.

Yes, the hardy green comes to the rescue when we’ve got just one too many cooking tasks to attend to.

In Melissa Clark’s “Raw Kale Salad with Anchovy-Date Dressing,” the veg is a lifesaver as it forms the basis of a salad that can sit quite happily on the table for hours without any worse for wear. It won’t get soggy like spring mix. It’s far more interesting than iceberg. And it actually gets tastier as the leaves start to wilt a little.

The recipe is from the New York Times columnist’s new cookbook, “Cook This Now” (Hyperion), of which I recently received a review copy.

Just cut the kale leaves into ribbons, then toss with a dressing made with medjool dates, anchovy fillets, garlic, citrus zest, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

What you get is a complex bowl of crunch, sweetness, bitterness, tang and garlicky goodness.

So, when the going gets frantic, remember to reach for the kale.

Raw Kale Salad with Anchovy-Date Dressing

(Serves 6)

6 to 8 large medjool dates, pitted, smashed, and finely chopped

6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Finely grated zest of 2 oranges

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar, more to taste

2 large or 3 small bunches Tuscan kale (also known as lacinato, black or dinosaur kale), ribs removed

Coarse sea salt, if needed

In a medium bowl, stir together the dates (use more dates if you like a sweeter salad and fewer if you prefer a less sweet salad), anchovies, garlic, orange zest, and lemon zest. Stir in the olive oil and vinegar.

Wash and dry the kale leaves; stack the leaves and slice them thinly crosswise. Transfer the greens to a large salad bowl. Add vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Add salt and more vinegar if needed.

Note: Russian red kale also can be used. Kale leaves toughen as they age, so it’s best to make this dish with the most tender bunches you can find. If using kale on the older side, just slice it very finely before tossing with the vinaigrette.

From “Cook This Now” by Melissa Clark

Other Melissa Clark Recipes: Sauteed Scallops with Tomatoes and Preserved Lemons

And: Manhattan Bay Scallop Chowder with Fennel

Another Salad That Holds Up on the Table: Romaine Hearts with Miso-Mustard Dressing

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  • It took me awhile to try kale out, but now I am addicted, I love all the salad varieties so yummy, I need to try some of the kale chips I have seen as well, I am sure they are good too!

  • Ok. I am no spring chicken-I had NO idea I could eat this raw!!! Definitely will try.

  • YES to raw kale salads. The date and anchovy mix is an interesting, new one. Never would think to combine those two ingredients, although at the heart of it, it’s the sweet and salty tangle that makes it work. Good one!

  • Carolyn, thank you for sharing this recipe! I like simple salads with great flavors, and this sounds like a salad with a great combination of flavors!

  • Carolyn, We are eating kale these days like it’s going out of style. It just feels like the right thing to eat this time of year. This salad is fascinating. I never would imagine dates, anchovies and kale. I gotta try it!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you:)

  • Kale is a relatively new vegetable for me and I love it. This salad sounds awesome with the anchovies! I will have to give this a try soon.

  • I eat kale whenever and wherever I can. This is a great dressing to try…sorta like a variation on caesar.

  • Oh, this is TOTALLY going to make an appearance at our family table during the holidays! Thanks yet again!) Carolyn ๐Ÿ™‚

    (Really, one of these days it is going to dawn on me that I need to post a sign” “All food on this table is thanks to Carolyn Jung” ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And to your readers above regarding kale chips — do it! I tear mine into rib-less bite-sized pieces, spritz with a misting of olive oil from one of those little pump thingies, and then drizzle with just a touch of sesame oil for some added flavor. Toss together in a bowl until leaves are evenly coated, spread out on pan topped with a few grinds of sea salt (or just sprinkle lightly with good old table salt) and roast until they get almost dry (crisping process will continue after you take them out). I left a batch in just a little too long one time and have been doing it on purpose ever since, because when I crumbled them all up, they turned out to be a GREAT addition to sprinkle on things like eggs, fried rice, or just anything you want to add a little healthy green stuff to. They would sub really well for nori (seaweed) flakes. No idea what happens to the nutritive value when it is toasted like that, but I now consider “kale sprinkles” to be a go-to pantry staple ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I am quite a fan of kale. Love them in stir-fries and soups. Have not tried a raw salad of kale though.

  • I have never tried Kale but after reading your post I am ready to go buy some tomorrow! This recipe sounds delicious.

  • The anchovy-date dressing sounds very unique, a neat combination of flavors!

  • I don’t know that I am quite won over to kale…yet. But this dressing sounds absolutely fantastic. I love dates and anchovies so together I don’t see how this can possibly be bad.

  • Actually that is a great quality that it can sit there because salads, as delicious as they are, require as much last minute preening as a Hollywood starlet! ๐Ÿ˜›

  • I haven’t tried making kale at home yet. But adding citrus zest sounds like a wonderful idea!

  • I obviously have not spent enough time paging through that cookbook. What a great salad! I love the sound of the dressing…the perfect mix of sweet and salty.

  • I love kale and this salad sounds really appetizing ๐Ÿ™‚ You’re so right about all of us trying to multitask all the time ha

  • Hi got to you via foodgawker! We are a new community driven food blog – we would love to see some posts by you! Check up out at feedintothefeed.com and consider submitting your work!

  • Made this salad for dinner tonight. I put the dressing ingredients in my mini food processor then drizzled in the olive oil. The end result was a gooey paste, so I added the juice from the oranges and it was much better. Now I love raw kale!

  • Fresh greens in WI in November? It’s got to be kale.I LOVE kale salads! This sounds great, and I can’t wait to try it.

  • Had to report back – made this for our Thanksgiving dinner and it was great! Am growing dino kale in the backyard (it’s really really easy to grow here in the bay area), so had a ton ready to go. Used a whole tin of Trader Joe’s anchovy filets. After throwing it together and letting it marinate for a couple of hrs I tasted and thought it needed more acid so I added the juice of one of the zested lemons. The dates really make this dish. This was a great addition to our table. Thanks for yet another delicious recipe!

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