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A Kale Salad To Stand the Test of Time

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