Sunday, January 6, 2013
Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad: Pucker up
Unless, of course, you're going to an orphans' New Year's Eve party where the only lip smacking conducted will involve slurping raw oysters.
Not that I even eat raw oysters.
Or at least I didn't in 2012.
I spent my last moments of the year with one of my best friends, her boyfriend and two of their friends at a home in Hollywood. Huddled around a picnic bench-style table weighted down with wine, we were a motley crew drinking Grand Cru.
There was cheese demanding to be swaddled in the accompanying slivers of French bread that disappeared far more quickly than would seem plausible for merely five people. There was toro sashimi strewn over a pink Himalayan salt block, quivering for the decisive grasp of a pair of chopsticks. There were roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, glistening with fish sauce vinaigrette. And there was this raw shredded kale and Brussels sprouts salad, aggressively punctuated with grated pecorino, shards of chopped almonds and a dressing pungent enough to keep both Edward and Jacob at bay.
It was all so random, like a mixed tape blending Justin Bieber with AC/DC, yet somehow completely fitting to cap off a year that transitioned from high highs to low lows without so much as a transitionary chorus. Or high-pitched squeak from the Biebs.
We barely noticed when the clock started to inch closer to midnight. And we certainly couldn't be bothered to think about what we'd resolve to do in the year idling just minutes before us.
We ate more cheese. We drank more wine. We apathetically counted down the last ten seconds of 2012 with our glasses hovering in the air at half-mast.
And then we collapsed on the couch, a motley crew exhausted from a New Year's Eve perfectly spent.
Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad
Lightly adapted from Bon Appetit
Notes: I didn't do much to disturb the peace of this near-perfect-as-is recipe that the Bon App editors have rightly declared a sleeper hit. My only amendments were with the proportions -- using a few more sprouts and less kale than is called for, and also increasing the amount of almonds, while reducing the amount of total olive oil. It's horrifically addicting for a raw kale salad, and I advise you to ensure there are plenty of people at the table to share it with so you won't be inclined to devour half the thing yourself.
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 small garlic clove, finely grated (I used a zester)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt + more for seasoning
Freshly ground pepper
1 large bunch (or 1 1/2 bunches) Tuscan kale, thoroughly washed and dried
1-lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed with outer leaves removed
1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
1 cup finely grated Pecorino
Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk together until well combined, and then gradually whisk in the olive oil. Set aside to let the flavors blend.
Remove the ribs from the kale. Stack the leaves, and use a sharp chef's knife to slice the kale into thin ribbons. Remove the stems from the Brussels sprouts and slice in half. Use the same knife to cut the sprouts into equally thin ribbons.
Place kale, Brussels sprouts and 2/3rds of the cheese into a large salad bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette until evenly coated. Serve on a large platter topped with the almonds and extra pecorino.