Photo by Rolumo Yanes
By Stan Parish, GQ
You swore to eat more greens after the holidays, and here's how to keep that promise: by ditching your boring lettuce, upgrading the fixings, and topping it off with a homemade dressing so good you could drink it straight.
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Step 1: The Base
There's a lot going on in this magnum opus of a salad from Five Leaves in Brooklyn. It's a riff on the Caesar that's gone global and put on weight in all the right places. And it's one of those rare restaurant dishes that blow you away and taste exactly the same the first time you make them at home. A big part of this is the raw Tuscan kale. Unlike the wan, watery lettuce that's currently wasting space in the produce aisle, kale is in its prime in cooler weather. Its rich mineral taste and leafy texture won't go AWOL under a serious dressing and a mess of extras. As if that's not enough, kale can lower-we're not kidding here-your risk of cancer. Grab a full bunch; strip out the tough, stringy stems; then chop the leaves into the thin ribbons you see here. Technically, that's called "a chiffonade of kale." Whether you use that term or not is up to you.
Step 2: The Sauce
Put down that bottle of premade salad dressing. A little foresight at the grocery store and five minutes of work result in a homemade dressing rich with Sriracha (Tabasco's Asian cousin), fresh citrus, and aged Gouda-plus a subtle hint of anchovy.
Spicy Anchovy Dressing
Makes about one pint
1/2 cup garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup milk
7 pieces black or salted anchovies
2 Tbsp. Sriracha
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
1/3 cup grated aged Gouda
Pinch of sugar
1 1/2 cups olive oil
1. Simmer the whole garlic cloves in the milk until soft, about 20 minutes.
2. Blend all ingredients except the olive oil into a ﬁne paste, then slowly incorporate the oil.
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Step 3: The Finish
You've got the greenery and the spicy kick, and now you need some hearty texture, which is where the crunch and woodsy flavor of toasted hazelnuts come into play. Spread a layer of whole nuts in a cast-iron pan and place it over low heat. This isn't the time to catch a few minutes of the game. If you can smell the nuts from the other room, it's already too late. Once they're lightly brown and fragrant, all they need is a rough chop before you pour them on-along with some grated Gouda, because why not?
Extra Credit: A Bigger, Bolder Bacon
Yes, you're doing this to eat healthier, but a pile of raw kale earns you the right to add a little pork belly. Just make sure you use the good stuff. Applegate Farms recently teamed up with Jude Becker, the legendary Iowa pig farmer whose animals live at least as well as we do. Hit up Whole Foods for Applegate's Organic Uncured Thick Cut Bacon, made with Becker Lane pork. It's an ethical and delicious way to cheat on your New Year's resolution.
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Photo by Rolumo Yanes