Editors' Picks

Kale and Anchovy Salad

March 21, 2013

In Cooking from Every Angle, we hear from our fearless leaders: Food52 co-founders Amanda & Merrill.

Today: Amanda has a punchy kale salad for you, plus two secrets for making all the other kale salads you know even better.

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I know you need another kale salad recipe like you need another artisanal pickle, but I swear you'll love this one. And even if you don't, I have a mixing technique to offer that you can apply to the other 37 kale salads in your life.

Here's how to make it:

My kale salad was inspired by one I used to pick up at 'wichcraft, near our old office. I liked that it was a bit wilted and very tangy, and the kale's mineral leaves were smartly paired with anchovies and thyme. 

 The first secret to making this salad is making it in advance. Plan 5 minutes for putting it together, and give it at least 20 to sit before serving. 

The second secret is in the tossing of the salad -- in fact there should be no tossing. When it comes time to dress it, keep your salad tongs in the drawer. Your hands are all you'll need.

You want to grab handfuls of the stuff and firmly squeeze and mash the leaves as you mix them. Treat them like a shirt you're hand-washing. This mashing helps break down the leaves and really works the dressing into them.

Then give the salad a rest before serving, and taste and adjust seasoning once more before taking the salad to the table. 

Like all kale salads, this one is great for picnics, and with roasts of any kind. Add shaved parmesan and a hard-boiled egg and make it a work lunch.

kale salad

Kale and Anchovy Salad

Inspired by 'wichcraft

Serves 4

1 small garlic clove
2 anchovies
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Meyer (or regular) lemon
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
6 cups packed lacinato (dinosaur) kale

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

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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).

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Amanda Hesser

Written by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.


Kelly K. April 22, 2013
Where is the beautiful mortar and pestle from?
loubaby March 25, 2013
this sounds and looks so good...massaging kale is the term I have read about lately....massaging kale with oil or salt softens the leaves and makes them more edible...here the dressing does the trick...
Cafe42 March 25, 2013
yup, bruising the kale is the secrest to a Kale salad. But letting it sit 4 ten to wilt is extra knowledge that really helps. I make my sandwich while the Kale "recovers" from its massage. Truth be told, Kale salads have replaced chips (and dips) as my accompaniment to my end of day "sports center" snack! :)
102bleu March 24, 2013
i grow several varieties of kale in my raised beds all summer long here in northern vermont. on a trip to italy several years back i bought a large seed packet of lacinato kale seed back with me and just love the stuff. this recipe sounds like a keeper with ingredients we just love. nothing like a good anchovy to bring out the best in a savory dish.
Vstarr71 March 24, 2013
Our grocery store has fresh anchovies in lemon and oil. This salad will be spectacular with the fresh anchovies:))) thank you!
darksideofthespoon March 21, 2013
Omg, I have all the ingredients! Hello todays lunch!
hardlikearmour March 21, 2013
How fishy is the flavor from the anchovies? Is it one where they disappear into the mix, like salsa verde, or one where their presence is clearly known? What do you think about subbing fish sauce for the anchovies and salt?
Amanda H. March 21, 2013
I find it's more important/difficult to control the intensity of the garlic. The anchovies are flavorful but should definitely not take over the salad -- same with the garlic. I wouldn't do fish sauce. Why don't you cut back to 1 anchovy and from there?
darksideofthespoon March 21, 2013
Like Amanda said, the garlic was almost too over powering. I only used 1 clove (I love garlic) and ended up using two anchovies... just for me! :)
hardlikearmour March 21, 2013
My only concern is I have a strong aversion to overtly fishy flavors. I can use anchovies when they are blended up, but can't stomach eating one plain. I would definitely be willing to give a single anchovy a try in this recipe because I do like when they provide umami w/o fishyness!
Rhonda35 March 21, 2013
I'm guessing it will be a bit like Caesar salad dressing - that background flavor of anchovy? Amanda, thanks for this column - Luke really likes kale in a salad when it is wilted and I wasn't sure how to make that happen. Now I've got it down!
tamater S. March 25, 2013
hardlikearmour, if you're not into the fish but want that umami, my suggestion is replacing fish with either or both: preserved lemon, (in addition to the juice called for) and/or capers, both very finely minced. You want them to sort of dissolve into the mix, as anchovy would. It's hard to give an amount, as saltiness of the ingredients varies, but I'm having some of this salad with 1 T. of each. I also sprinkled on a fine dusting of nutritional yeast (Red Star) on and thought it was good, and on leftovers today, my husband also sprinkled some crumbled feta, but I haven't yet heard how he liked that.