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Autumn Kale Salad with Fennel, Honeycrisp and Goat Cheese

Salad
1 very large bunch of kale
1 medium Honeycrisp apple
1 medium bulb of fennel
3 ounces chilled goat cheese, crumbled (to yield about ⅓ cup crumbled goat cheese)
⅓ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or chopped pecans

Dressing
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
⅛ teaspoon salt
Several twists of freshly ground black pepper

To prepare the kale: Use a chef’s knife to remove the tough ribs from the kale, then discard the ribs. Chop the kale leaves into small, bite-sized pieces.

Transfer the chopped kale to a big salad bowl. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands by lightly scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves are darker in color and fragrant.

To prepare the remaining salad ingredients: Chop the apple into small, bite-sized pieces. Use a chef’s knife or mandoline to slice the fennel as thin as possible. Transfer the prepared apple and fennel to the salad bowl. Use a fork to crumble the goat cheese over the salad. Roughly chop the cranberries and add them to the bowl.

To toast the pepitas: In a skillet over medium-low heat, toast the nuts, tossing frequently, until fragrant and starting to make little popping noises, about 3 to 6 minutes. Transfer the pepitas to a bowl to cool.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until emulsified.

To prepare the salad: Add the cooled pepitas to the salad bowl. Drizzle dressing over the salad, just enough to lightly coat the kale once tossed (you might have some leftover dressing). Toss the salad well. For best flavor, let the salad rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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