I love the kale salad at Five Leaves, a great little restaurant in Greenpoint. The kale is finely julienned and so the other flavors of the salad, to me, are better enjoyed. I don't even remember what the components of the Five Leaves salad are, but the other taking off point for me was thinking about making pear chips, and adding in a little toasted and sweetened walnut. Use your nicest vinegar to make the vinaigrette. This is a great, special salad brightened by the crunch of the pear chips. You can make the toasted walnuts ahead as well as prepare and refrigerate the kale, and assemble everything after you fry the pear chips. —Bevi
kale, or greens of your choice for 4 servings. I use dino kale for this recipe.
Pear, under ripe ( I used a Bartlett)
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Cheese, grated finely (Pecorino or Grana Padano)
very sweet cherry tomatoes (I used Sungold)
Prepare the kale: wash the leaves and dry thoroughly. Remove the spine from each leaf. Line the leaves up and finely julienne the kale. Place in a large salad bowl and set aside.
Prepare the pear. Do not peel. Use a mandoline to very thinly slice the pear, adjusting the thickness to your liking. A very thin slice will produce a crispy chip when it is fried, whereas a thicker slice will be crispy on the edges, but somewhat juicy and flavorful in the inside of the slice. I used both thicknesses to compare the difference. Dry the slices with a paper towel before frying.
Place enough canola or vegetable oil in a large frying pan to cover both sides of the pear slices. Allow the oil to sizzle, and then fry the pear slices in batches, making sure to watch them carefully. Adjust the heat as needed so the oil does not get smokey. The fried slices should be a golden brown color. like a potato chip. Place on paper towels. After a few minutes, very lightly salt at least a few of the slices.
Prepare the vinaigrette. Mix the olive oil, vinegar, and anchovy paste. Add a little bit of ground pepper. Taste and adjust as needed.
Place the walnuts on a parchment paper - lined pan with a few sprinklings of brown sugar. Toast for about 5 minutes. Watch carefully to make sure they do not burn. When you pull them out of the toaster oven, toss the walnuts around in any liquified sugar. Let cool.
Assemble the salad. Pour the vinaigrette into the kale and toss. Add the walnuts and the cheese, and toss again very lightly.
To serve, plate the salad on individual serving dishes, and place the pear chips on the salad. Toss a few cherry tomato halves around the plate.