Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad

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Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad
Susan Spungen
Yields:  8-10 servings

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
1/4 tsp. kosher salt plus more for seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large bunches of Tuscan kale (about 1 1/2 pounds total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
1 cup finely grated Pecorino

Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper in a small bowl. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded Brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

Measure 1/2 cup oil into a cup. Spoon 1 tablespoon oil from cup into a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel–lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.

Slowly whisk remaining olive oil in cup into lemon-juice mixture. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared 8 hours ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

Add dressing and cheese to kale mixture; toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Garnish with almonds.

Poached Pears with Crème Fraiche
Adapted from Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan
Yields:  6 servings

3/4 cup honey
4 whole star anise
4 cloves
1 vanilla pod
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Pinch of fine sea salt
6 medium firm but ripe pears (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, quartered, cored
1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream

Combine 2 1/2 cups water, honey, star anise, cloves, vanilla, lemon juice, and sea salt in large saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add pears; reduce heat and simmer until tender, turning occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, depending on ripeness. Using slotted spoon, transfer pears to medium bowl. Boil liquid, star anise, cloves and vanilla until reduced to 1 cup syrup, about 22 minutes. Pour syrup with star anise, cloves and vanilla over pears. Cover and chill until cold, about 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Remove star anise, cloves and vanilla from syrup. Divide pears and syrup among 6 bowls. Top each with dollop of crème fraîche and serve. ¬