Salad shouldn't be an obligation or an afterthought -- and it doesn't always have to be kale, either. Every other Thursday, Elizabeth Stark from Brooklyn Supper will help you make salads you actually want to eat.
Today: If you're already working on those 2015 resolutions, a raw kale salad isn't going to feel like a meal. A salad dressed with warm bacon and homemade buttermilk ranch, on the other hand, will make healthy eating both easy and satisfying.
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When it comes to healthy eating, people can have an all-or-nothing attitude. And between post-holiday guilt and New Year's resolutions, that's especially true now. If December was all about cookies and and cake and figgy pudding, then January must feature a parade of undressed salads and bowls piled high with steamed broccoli. I'm not usually one for culinary austerity, but even I'll concede that a wholesome meal is never so welcome as it is in January.
But please don't throw out everything good just because of a few (dozen) cookies. Food doesn't work that way. Thanksgiving happened. Christmas happened. You can't undo what's been done. Besides, if you switch over to a diet of raw kale and steamed squash, you're just going to make vegetables a penance, rather than food. Far better to find satisfaction in a hearty (and "hearty" means creamy and bacon-y here) winter salad than to power through a flavorless January and slip back into old habits.
This salad relies on three simple, but absolutely delicious elements: tender endive, warm slab bacon, and creamy buttermilk ranch dressing. I like to finish things off with excessive amounts of black pepper, but that part's up to you.
The ranch dressing improves overnight, so consider making it ahead of time.
1/4 cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons sour cream 1 tablespoon minced shallot 1 clove garlic, crushed and minced 1 teaspoon lemon zest 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder 1/2 cup buttermilk, shaken vigorously 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice Splash sherry vinegar 2 tablespoons minced parsley, plus a bit more for garnish 2 teaspoons minced chives, plus a bit more for garnish 1 teaspoon minced thyme, plus a bit more for garnish Ground black pepper, to taste
For the salad:
1/4 pound thick-cut bacon 6 Belgian endives Sea salt, to taste Ground black pepper, to taste 1 teaspoon minced fresh herbs
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).