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Kale Salad with Cheddar, Walnuts, and Dried Cherries

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This kale salad, inspired by the one I ate at Lincoln Station, is one of the best I have eaten. (It’s pretty common knowledge that I’m crazy about kale salads.) I love the tenderness of the kale after a bit of massage. The warmth of the walnut, the creamy bite of the cheese, and the slight sweetness from the dried cherries counteract the bitterness of the kale and the hit of acid from the lemon juice and zest.

After a week in New York, and a glorious week in Italy, the only food I wanted to eat on my return home was this salad.

Ingredients

Feeds 4
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and leaves cut into long strips
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 ounce white cheddar (or Grana Padano), cut into small nubs
handful walnut pieces
handful dried sour cherries

Directions

  1. Massaging the kale. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the kale leaves in a large bowl. Drizzle over the olive oil. Slowly, massage the salt and olive oil into the kale. Rub it with your hands until every part of the kale is coated in the oil and the kale starts to relax and wilt. Let the kale sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Finishing the salad. Drizzle on the sherry vinegar. Toss the kale leaves to coat. Taste a leaf. Need more vinegar? More oil? A bit more salt or pepper? You be the judge. Add the lemon zest, cheese, walnuts, and sour cherries. Toss. Serve
  3. Feel like playing? This is only the template of a salad, of course. Use any dried fruit you want. We like pecorino here too. Instead of the walnuts, try hazelnuts or sunflower seeds. You just want something warm and mild like the cheese, walnuts, and cherries to counteract the acids in the salad. And it’s good to have a bit of crunch in the tender kale leaves too.