Ok, I know what you're thinking. Kale? On Thanksgiving? Normally I would agree, but the older I get the more I really like something crisp and light to balance out all the richness. In fact, whenever we go over to my brother and sister-in-law's for Thanksgiving (and they host a HUGE group!), my sister-in-law always makes sure there's a salad, or two. And it's nice to have a break from the richness. So, yes, kale salad for Thanksgiving. But, to appease those who would shake their hands (and I know who you are!), there's also pancetta.....and candied pecans. You're welcome.
- 1 1/2 cups pecans
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, finely diced
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons caper brine (from a jar of capers)
- 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into matchsticks
- 2 large heads radicchio, shredded
- 2 8-ounce bunch baby kale—stems discarded, leaves finely shredded
- 3 tablespoons snipped chives
- 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
- 2 ounces shaved pecorino
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, cover the pecans with water. Transfer to a sieve and shakeout the water. In another bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar, cayenne and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Add the pecans and toss.
Transfer to a sieve and shake off the excess coating. Arrange the pecans on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the sugar is lightly caramelized and the pecans are golden.
In a skillet, heat the oil with the pancetta and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the pancetta is nicely browned and crisp. Strain the pan drippings into a large bowl; whisk in the vinegar, caper brine and maple syrup and season the dressing with salt and black pepper.
Add the apples, radicchio, kale, chives, tarragon and pecorino and toss. Mound the salad on plates, garnish with the pecans and pancetta and serve.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine