Salad lady. There are a handful of dinners we have coming up and lo and behold, my assignment is consistent. We often do a quicky weeknight warm kale salad with a roasted squash, pom seed, pepita combo, so I was going for something different here. Light but not lacking, something that would welcome leftover chicken or steak for Hugh and a couple fried eggs for me. A base salad if you will? It is perfectly crunchy to go along with the warmer, richer foods that are more common this time of year. I like raw shaved fennel personally, but Hugh said it feels like eating shoelaces, so I roasted the bits this time. Fennel has some natural sweetness that comes out in a quick roast and he's right, they are a little nicer to eat this way. I made a few notes below in the recipe but if you're bringing green salad to your holiday table, this one is worth considering.
GOLDEN FENNEL KALE CHOP // Serves 4
Some of you will see an anchovy written in the dressing and think 'gross' but I promise you it is just a teensy bit of 'hm that's interesting and salty nice' that makes the whole salad special. It does not taste like fish. I use the ones from Trader Joes and use 1 large filet, which is about a tsp. worth. If you are completely averse or do not eat fish, a tsp. of capers will be a nice substitute. The dressing can be made in advance, mind as well double it if you like having dressing on hand (which is key if you appreciate meal prep). As per comments, it's pretty simple, so if you like a bolder dressing, add an extra anchovy and perhaps a dollop of mayo to emulsify. The fennel may be roasted a day in advance too, and otherwise, everything comes together quite quickly.
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper
1 bunch of lacinato kale, stemmed and chopped
1/2 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup toasted pinenuts
herby lemony vinaigrette
1 garlic clove
1 anchovy filet
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey or agave
handful of fresh parsley
few basil leaves
juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp. sea salt, to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375' and line a small baking tray with parchment. Trim and core the fennel and chop it into 1/2" pieces. Add a drizzle of oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper to season and toss to coat. Roast for 20 minutes and set aside to cool completely.
While the fennel roasts, make your dressing. Blitz all ingredients together in a blender or food processor.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the kale, a few spoonfuls of dressing and massage it into the kale. It should reduce by half once you go rubbing the dressing into it. Add the garbanzos, raisins, parm, pinenuts, cooled fennel and toss again, adding more dressing as needed. No one likes dry kale. This salad can hang in the fridge for a few hours, pre dressed. Garnish with a sprinkle of extra cheese and nuts.