cacio e pepe salad Lemon, Love + Olive Oil Cookbook

Name a friend who wouldn’t be enchanted by this salad. We get that kale can be a hard sell in some crowds, but the good news is that, drenched in salty cheese, this salad is a win for everyone on your guest list. 

This clever, but simple recipe comes to us from Mina Stone’s new cookbook, Lemon, Love & Olive Oil. Her first cookbook, Cooking For Artists has been featured multiple times on TCM, both in our own cookbook round-ups and in special mentions from featured artisans. Here’s Mina… 

This is my version of having the idea of a decadent pasta, in salad form. It has the flavor components of a cacio e pepe, set against the backdrop of a hearty forest of green kale. The kale stands up to the challenge, providing a healthy vehicle for the tangy salty cheese, crunchy hazelnuts, and spicy black pepper.

Cacio e Pepe Kale Salad

Serves 4 to 6

6 cups (400 g) lacinato or curly green kale (about 2 bunches)
Extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup (40 g) grated pecorino cheese
1⁄2 cup (65 g) hazelnuts, toasted (see page 9) and chopped

Cut out the thick middle rib of the kale leaves or tear it off with your hands.
Layer a few kale leaves on top of each other and cut into bite-size pieces.
Repeat until all the kale is done.
(Alternatively, you can cut the kale into ribbon-size pieces for a “pasta” look.)

Put the kale in a serving bowl and massage it with enough olive oil to coat each leaf.
Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

When you are ready to serve, toss the kale with most of the cheese and most of the hazelnuts and garnish with the rest.
Finish with freshly ground black pepper and serve.

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