Welcome to Mouthsgiving, a collection of easy Thanksgiving recipes upgraded with small-batch ingredients. Today we bring you Josie's recipe for kale salad, perfect for Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, or any holiday dinner party.
Two years ago I sliced clean through the length of my right pointer finger while falling and trying to protect the wine glass I was carrying (it was antique). In surgery, I was told I’d likely never be able to properly move my finger again. Three days later, I cooked a Thanksgiving meal for 12, wearing a glove over my bandaged, stiff hand and doing everything from massaging soft butter under the skin of the brined, 14-pound bird to pulling the stuffing from the oven. Single-handedly.
No one is more serious about cooking Thanksgiving than I am.
Whenever we can, we spend it at my family’s house on Martha’s Vineyard, which is where we’ll be this year. Aunt Lynne and Uncle George live about 150 feet away from our place (in the summer we’re constantly drifting between the two, ringing dinner bells when it’s time to eat).
Uncle George is a great cook and is one of the three (yes, three) people I am able to actually relax around and let cook for me. When we’re on the Vineyard, the two of us cook the entire meal: I cook at my house, he cooks at his and then everyone carries the dishes in a single file line down the path connecting our homes to whichever dining room the feast will take place at.
We start planning the menu and putting together the shopping list no later than three weeks in advance. There are many emails back and forth, hashing out who will do what, what needs to be brought on island from the mainland and what supplies we should order in advance.
We like to change the menu each year, but the one dish I always make, without fail, is a kale salad. Usually, I use raw, hand-torn Lacinato kale, lots of lemon, chopped oily olives and shaved Parmesan. But, you guys, I’m so sick of that salad. I’ve served that version so often my friends have named it The Josie Salad, which is endearing but also means it’s time for something new.
Introducing, The New And Improved Josie Salad, with major upgrades: I swapped the olives for Dried Cranberries & Blueberries from Vincent Family Cranberries, the Parmesan for blue cheese and threw in some Spiced Candied Pecans from Quince & Apple for good measure.
The earthy, crisp raw kale strewn with chewy, sweet dried berries, creamy blue cheese and crunchy, spiced nuts is everything I want in a fall salad.
Honestly, I don’t know what I’ve been doing with my life till now.
Kale Salad with Candied Pecans, Dried Berries and Blue Cheese
1. Wash and dry kale leaves. Using your hands, tear into bite-size pieces (discarding the stem) and place in a large serving bowl.
2. Make the dressing by whisking together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
3. Using your hands, massage dressing into kale leaves and let sit for 10 minutes (this tenderizes the leaves).
4. To the kale add half the spiced candied pecans, dried cranberries and blueberries and blue cheese. Toss to combine.
5. Before serving, top salad with remaining ingredients.
Total time: 12 minutes