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Cook this: Warm kale and chicken salad with toasted hazelnuts and croutons from Let's Do Dinner

'It's the one dish that I probably make a version of more than any other in the book,' says Antoni Porowski

Our cookbook of the week is Antoni: Let’s Do Dinner by Antoni Porowski with Mindy Fox. Over the next three days, we’ll feature more recipes from the book and an interview with one of the authors.
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To try another recipe from the book, check out: Lazy pierogies with wild mushrooms, cabbage and prunes; and croque signore.


This is Antoni Porowski’s ideal salad. “It just checks all the boxes of: It’s packed with protein, I’m getting my veggies, it’s sweet, it’s tangy,” says Queer Eye ‘s food and wine expert. And it was loosely inspired by the late chef Judy Rodgers’ roast chicken with bread salad, which he enjoyed at Zuni Café in San Francisco while on tour for his first book, Antoni in the Kitchen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019): “It was mind-blowing.”
Porowski makes a version of this hearty salad more often than any other recipe in Let’s Do Dinner . And as the title of the chapter it belongs to suggests — “Salad, But Make It Dinner” — he’s a big fan of eating salads throughout the week. “There’s a massive salad culture, especially in New York right now,” he says. “My pet peeve is when it’s dry kale that hasn’t been massaged, and you just feel like a horse chewing on raw kale.”

Here, he bypasses the massage and pours over a warm vinaigrette instead. A combination of olive oil, garlic, anchovies, red pepper flakes and lemon juice, it serves to soften the greens while adding flavour and a touch of heat. “I don’t have time to massage kale during the week and I don’t really feel like doing it, either. So a warm vinaigrette is excellent for that,” says Porowski. “People should know about warm vinaigrettes; I think they’re very important.”

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The salad holds up really well, he adds, and the softened greens keep their shape into the next day. Rotisserie chicken is one of the keys to a speedy dinner, and Porowski draws on them throughout the book. Accompanied by “torn croutons that aren’t perfect little cubes to soak up all the juices and hazelnuts, (which) add a nice little crunch,” it’s a salad you’ll be happy to call dinner.

Antoni: Let’s Do Dinner is Queer Eye star Antoni Porowski’s second cookbook. Photo by Mariner Books


1/2 cup hazelnuts, with or without skins
About 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cups torn (1 1/2-inch pieces) country bread
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small garlic clove, gently smashed and peeled
4 anchovy fillets
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
8 cups torn Tuscan or other kale (from a 1/2-lb/225-g bunch)
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/4 cup raisins

Step 1

Heat the oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts on a small baking sheet and bake until fragrant and toasted, 10 to 12 minutes. If using nuts with skins, rub them in a clean towel to remove most of the skins (it’s OK if they don’t all come off). Let cool, then coarsely chop.

Step 2

Meanwhile, heat 1/3 inch of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until it ripples. Add the bread in a single layer and fry undisturbed until the pieces are lightly golden on the bottom, about 1 minute. Turn and continue frying until just lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the croutons to paper towels to drain. Season with salt and pepper while warm.

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Step 3

Remove any bread bits from the skillet, then pour the oil into a measuring cup. Add more oil as needed to make 1/3 cup, then return the oil to the skillet. Add the garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes and heat over medium heat until warm and fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Step 4

Combine the kale, chicken, and half of the hazelnuts and raisins in a bowl. Pour on the dressing and season with salt. Toss to combine. Arrange the salad on plates. Top with the remaining nuts and raisins and serve.

Serves: 4
Recipe and image excerpted from Antoni: Let’s Do Dinner © 2021 by Antoni Porowski with Mindy Fox. Photography © 2021 by Paul Brissman. Reproduced by permission of Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

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