The Kale Salad that Started it All

Tip from Joshua McFadden—

“A trick to ensure tender kale without long cooking: Freeze the kale raw (and trimmed) for a few hours; freezing will break down the fibers. Cook it straight from the freezer.”

Author Adapted from Six Seasons, p. 309


  • 1 bunch kale, thick ribs cut out
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parmesan/Romano cheese, finely grated
  • olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/8 tsp dried chili flakes
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs


  1. Stack several kale leaves on top of one another and roll them up into a tight cylinder. With a sharp knife, slice crosswise into very thin, about 1/16th inch ribbons (this is called chiffonade). Pile the kale into a bowl.

  2. Put the chopped garlic on a cutting board and mince it even more until you have a paste (you can sort of smash and scrape the garlic with the side of the knife as well). Transfer the garlic to a small bowl, add ¼ cup parmesan, a healthy glug of olive oil, the lemon juice, chile flakes, ¼ teaspoon salt, and plenty of twists of black pepper, and whisk to combine.

  3. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss well to thoroughly combine (you can use your clean hands for this, to be efficient). Taste and adjust with more lemon, salt, chili flakes, or black pepper. Let the salad sit for about 5 minutes so the kale softens slightly. Top with the breadcrumbs, shower with more cheese, and drizzle with more oil.