Kale and Apple Salad with Pancetta and Candied Pecans

Screen shot 2013-12-04 at 11.09.28 AM

image via foodandwine.com

As I was searching for healthier side dishes to make this Thanksgiving I came across this amazing salad. It does take a little bit of time to prepare but is completely worth it (and you can do alot of it ahead of time). The flavor from the sauteed pancetta really makes the dressing unbelievable. And my grocery store had prepackaged diced pancetta at the deli…huge help! See the **notes below on some changes I made.


  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 ounces thickly sliced pancetta, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons caper brine (from a jar of capers)
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large head radicchio, shredded
  • One 8-ounce bunch kale—stems discarded, leaves finely shredded
  • 3 tablespoons snipped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • 2 ounces shaved pecorino

** Changes- I used one small head of radicchio and it was plenty, and used Parmesan cheese instead of pecorino.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, cover the pecans with water. Transfer to a sieve and shake out the water. In another bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, cayenne and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Add the pecans and toss. Transfer to a sieve and shake off the excess coating. Arrange the pecans on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the sugar is lightly caramelized and the pecans are golden.
  2. In a skillet, heat the oil with the pancetta and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the pancetta is browned, 6 minutes. Strain the pan drippings into a large bowl; whisk in the vinegar, caper brine and maple syrup and season the dressing with salt and black pepper. Add the apples, radicchio, kale, chives, tarragon and pecorino and toss. Mound the salad on plates, garnish with the pecans and pancetta and serve.

** I made the candied pecans well in advance. Also- I just chopped my kale and radicchio (no shredding). I prepared my apples ahead of time by chopping them and putting them in a container filled with cold water and a squeeze of lemon juice, then stick in in the fridge until you are ready.

So good, I’m making it again for dinner tomorrow night! Enjoy.

Posted in Eat

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