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Shredded Kale Salad with Pancetta and Hard-Cooked Egg

Shredding and briefly blanching kale for a salad softens its sturdy texture but keeps it crunchy enough to support hearty, heavier ingredients like hard-cooked eggs and pancetta. The kale can be left raw, too, for a crunchier effect.

Ingredients:

  • 5 eggs
  • 2 bunches kale
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 lb. thick-cut pancetta or bacon, coarsely chopped
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 4 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Directions:

Place the eggs in a saucepan just large enough to hold them. Add cold water to cover by 1 inch and bring just to a boil over high heat. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Have ready a bowl of ice water. Drain the eggs, then transfer to the ice water and let cool. Peel the eggs, mince them and set aside.

Using a knife, strip the ribs from the kale, then roll the leaves up and slice them thinly crosswise. Bring a large saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the salt and kale and cook until the greens are just tender, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift out the kale and drain it well. Rinse under cold running water until cool and drain again. Gently squeeze out the excess liquid from the kale with your hands, then coarsely chop it. Gently squeeze out the liquid with your hands again. Set aside.

In a fry pan over medium heat, cook the pancetta or bacon, turning occasionally, until nearly golden, about 5 minutes. (If using bacon, pour off the rendered fat at this point.) Add 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and the garlic and cook just until the garlic is golden, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta and garlic to paper towels to drain.

Add 2 Tbs. of the balsamic vinegar to the fry pan and cook over medium heat, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the pan bottom. Pour into a bowl and whisk in the remaining 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, the red wine vinegar and the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the kale, the pancetta and garlic, 3 Tbs. of the parsley and the black pepper. Mix well. Add the minced eggs and gently fold them in.

Garnish the salad with the remaining 1 Tbs. parsley and the cayenne and serve immediately. Serves 4 or 5.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan (Weldon Owen, 2012).