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Kale Salad with Pickled Beets, Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Honey-Clove Vinaigrette

By The Hearty Boys From Moveable Feast Season 2, Ep.7
Scott Phillips

Servings: 8 to 10


For the pickled beets

  • 1-1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbs. caraway seeds
  • 1 Tbs. black peppercorns
  • 1-1/2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. baby beets (about 1-inch diameter), peeled and very thinly sliced on a mandoline

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad

  • 1 lb. lacinato kale, washed, stemmed, and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 lb. slab bacon, cut lengthwise into1/2-inch slices and crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick lardons
  • 4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled into large pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Pickle the beets

  • In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, fennel and caraway seeds, peppercorns, mustard seeds, bay leaves, cinnamon, 2 Tbs. salt, and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Place the beets in a medium bowl and pour the pickling liquid through a sieve over the beets, discarding the solids. Let sit at room temperature for at least one hour or up to 1 week, covered, in the refrigerator.

Make the dressing

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, and cloves. While whisking, slowly drizzle in the oil until emulsified. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Assemble the salad

  • Put the kale in a large serving bowl and toss with 1/4 cup of the dressing to lightly coat. Using your hands, lightly massage the dressing into the leaves. Let the kale sit to soften for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, put half the bacon in a single layer in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook, turning occasionally, until the lardons are crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Repeat with the remaining bacon.
  • Put the cheese, pickled beets, and lardons in the bowl with the kale. Add enough  of the remaining dressing to coat evenly and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, transfer to a platter, and serve.


Recipe adapted from Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking.

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