If you are what you eat, then I am currently cookies. Every holiday season, I go on a bit of a bender as I try to get my fill of chocolate dreidels and pepperkaker, and this winter was no exception. And while I enjoyed every crumb to the fullest, I am, shall we say, not feeling super-duper amazing as a result. Maybe you are in that boat, or an adjacent one. Perhaps you are currently cake, or pie, or candy. Or perhaps you are smoothies, in which case, maybe you should stop reading this and go get a cookie?
As my New Year's present to you, I give you the dish that I turn to when my body feels meh and I need a pick-me-up. Every time I eat it, I think "This is exactly what I want to be eating right now." No joke. I have even had this for breakfast with eggs and toast. In fact, I would recommend that you try that exact breakfast sometime! I have a hunch that it will make you feel awesome for the rest of the day.
Sidenote: The above photos are of me doing one of my favorite things in the world, which is simultaneous reading cookbooks/writing/eating. Richard just looked at the second picture and said, "I wonder if anyone will comment on how weirdly you hold a pen." I guess we'll find out, won't we?
Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Chickpeas, Almonds, and Pecorino
adapted from Epicurious; serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as a side salad
2-3 small garlic cloves, minced or finely grated with a rasp (microplane)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon (preferably Meyer) juice
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
generous pinch (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt
2-3 tablespoons olive oil (I prefer my dressing on the brighter side, so I usually use 2 tablespoons)
1 bunch lacinato (dino) kale, washed, stems removed, and thinly sliced
1/2 pound brussels sprouts, cleaned of outer leaves and tough bottoms, and thinly shaved or sliced
2 cups cooked chickpeas (approximately 1 can) OR 1 1/2 cups cooked French or Beluga lentils
1/4 cup sliced almonds, fried in a little olive oil until golden brown and sprinkled with a pinch of kosher salt
scant (or, if you're me, generous) 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano or other sharp, aged cheese
In the bowl in which you plan to serve the salad, combine the minced or grated garlic, lemon juice, mustard, and salt. Whisk briefly, and let sit for 5 minutes to mellow the garlic and let the salt dissolve. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continuously. Continue to whisk after the oil is added until the dressing thickens. Set aside.
Add the kale and brussels sprouts to the bowl, and toss to evenly coat with the dressing. Using your hands, give the leaves a few brief squeezes, like you're massaging the shoulders of someone you like. You'll notice the leaves soften slightly; this is a good thing!
Add the chickpeas or lentils and almonds, and toss to combine. Add the pecorino, and toss to evenly coat the salad with the cheese. While this is best served immediately, it keeps extremely well; pack leftovers (if any) in an airtight container and eat for lunch the following day.