Combine 2 quarts water, the garlic, and 1 tablespoon salt in a medium pot. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Meanwhile, rinse the lentils in a fine-mesh sieve and sort through to catch any stones (you probably won’t, but you never know). When the water is boiling, add the lentils. Lower the heat, if necessary, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until just tender. When done, drain into the fine-mesh sieve and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Break up the soft garlic with your fingers.
While the lentils are cooking, sauté the chorizo. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet—so, wide enough that the chorizo slices can fit in a single layer—and set over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chorizo. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes until very crispy on both sides—draining fat and flipping the chorizo as needed. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Make the dressing in a big bowl (this is where you’ll build your salad, too). Combine the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, black pepper, and a pinch of salt. Mix with a fork or whisk until creamy and emulsified.
Use a mandoline to shave the celery and carrots into this bowl with the dressing. (Alternatively, you can do this on a cutting board with a knife.) Add the kale and a couple pinches of salt. Toss. Add the lentils and the cooled chorizo and toss again. Season with salt to taste.
To serve, drizzle each person’s salad plate with more olive oil for good measure, plus a lemon wedge for squeezing. Warm bread and white wine are happy additions, too.
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.