Saturday, January 31, 2015

Staple Salad, Taken To the Next Level!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this salad before (I'm pretty sure I have...) but it's pretty much become a staple between a group of our friends. Literally every time we meet for dinner, the question is not "Should we make the spicy kale salad?" but rather, "Who will make the spicy kale salad?" You can serve this salad with pretty much anything, and all of your friends who "don't really like salads" will be inhaling this dish. I swear. I've seen it happen.

BUT. If I thought it was good before, I've just elevated it to a whole new place. Yep. Elevated it. Now that's fancy. 

So first, I start off by preparing this salad, pretty much exactly as suggested:

Chopped Black Kale Salad w/ Spicy Anchovy Dressing, Hazelnuts and Aged Gouda
For the dressing:
1 Egg Yolk
2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoon Sarocha Hot sauce
Juice and zest of 1 Lime
2 tablespoons Sherry Vinegar
2 filets of salt Cured Anchovies rinsed and minced
2 cloves minced Garlic
2 tablespoon finely grated aged Gouda Cheese
¼ teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1 cup Olive Oil
Whisk together all ingredients other than olive oil until thoroughly incorporated. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until fully emulsified

Assembling the salad:
1 pound very thinly sliced Black Kale
2 ounces of aged Gouda
¼ cup Hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
Toss chopped kale with enough dressing to lightly coat. Then set on serving plate.
Shave Gouda liberally over the kale and garnish salad with hazelnuts.

But here's where things get serious. I picked up a lovely looking kabocha squash at the grocery store, and followed the recipe below to make a savory, sweet, utterly delicious roasted kabocha which complements the spicy-fishiness of the anchovy salad perfectly. I mean PERFECTLY. Make this. And then make it again next week. It's the perfect go-to to add to any dinner. We ate it with homemade pizzas one evening and then three nights later, ate it with veal meatballs and hazelnut polenta. And if all goes well, we'll eat it again next week alongside a whole trout. 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds,toasted 1 minute in a dry skillet ground coriander seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimenton) or regular paprika
  • 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 kabocha squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), partially peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (maybe a little more...)


Heat oven to 375°F. Combine cumin seeds with bay leaf and paprika in a spice mill or clean coffee grinder and process briefly spices in a mortar & pestle and grind until smooth. Add sugar and salt and then mix thoroughly with mortar & pestle. process to combine. Set aside. Toss squash with oil, then cumin coriander mixture. Spread on 2 baking sheets and roast until tender, about 25 minutes.
Obviously the main alteration to this recipe was the absence of the cumin. John isn't a big lover of cumin, plus we didn't have any in our pantry, so he opted for coriander seed instead and it was a delicious substitute. The squash comes out savory and aromatic, without tasting too much "like socks" according to John. 

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