Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad with Toasted Hazelnut Vinaigrette
Kale is good. Brussels sprouts are great. And when you combine them with creamy, sharp blue cheese and an irresistible toasted hazelnut vinaigrette? It's legit salad heaven. Kale and brussels sprouts salad will convert you into a green believer, no matter where you stand on the love/hate kale spectrum.
Heat an 8" skillet over medium high heat. Add the hazelnuts and toast until the skins start to crack and the nuts are golden brown and fragrant, 4-5 minutes Remove from heat and transfer to a cutting board or bowl to stop the cooking process. Allow to cool while you prepare the salad base.
Prepare the kale. Lay a piece of kale flat on the cutting board. Run the tip of a sharp knife along each edge of the stem to release it. Repeat with the remaining leaves. Stack 3-4 slices of kale leaves on top of one another, then slice crosswise into ¼" ribbons. Repeat until all of the kale has been thinly sliced. Place the shredded kale into a large salad bowl.
Trim the ends of the brussels sprouts and remove any bruised or yellowing outer leaves. Slice each brussels sprout in half. Lay the sprouts cut side down, then slice widthwise to create shreds. Start with the top of the sprout, as the root end will keep the leaves intact while you slice. Add the shredded brussels sprouts to the kale.
Crumble the blue cheese into tiny pieces and add to the salad bowl. Toss the kale, brussels sprouts, and blue cheese until uniformly mixed.
Place the cooled hazelnuts into a gallon sized ziplock bag. Place the bag on a cutting board, then shake to distribute the nuts into an even layer. Using a rolling pin, whack the bag (not *too* hard) until the nuts are crushed into small pieces. Place the crushed hazelnuts into a bowl.
Add the champagne vinegar, honey, salt, and a pepper to the bowl and whisk. Pour in the extra virgin olive oil in a steady stream with one hand while whisking with the other. Continue whisking vigorously until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
Pour half the vinaigrette over the salad and toss. Taste for seasoning, and add additional salt and pepper if needed, or additional vinaigrette if the salad seems dry. The salad can be served immediately, or set aside to further marinate.
Salad Storage: this salad will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Vinaigrette Storage: store leftover vinaigrette in a lidded jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Bring to room temperature before using.
If you can't find lacinto use curly kale. If making this substitution, it's a good idea to massage it first, since curly kale can be more bitter and tough. To do so, thinly slice the kale then sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt. Massage by gently squeezing the kale between your fingertips until the color deepens and the greens feel softer to the touch. This only takes a few minutes.
You don't need to massage the kale if using the lacinato variety, since it's milder to start, but you can let it marinate for 30 minutes or so to help the fibers break down.
If your cheese is too soft to crumble into small pieces, dice it into 1" cubes and place it into the freezer for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the greens or the dressing. It'll crumble easily once firmer.