Naming recipes is one of the hardest things about recipe writing, at least in my view. Take this salad for instance. If I took the simplest approach, I would call this Annie’s favorite things salad. This salad was born of me throwing together many of my favorite things on a single plate and loving it so much that I have made it over and over again many times since. Even though I routinely ignore things I’m supposed to care about like SEO and analytics, names like “Annie’s favorite things” aren’t going to help people find this recipe if they are searching for ways to make kale, or brussels sprouts, or crispy-skinned fish!

Finding the right name for a recipe can be challenging, especially when you have a variety of star ingredients like roasted brussels sprouts, pickled onions, kale, tangy cheese, crispy-skinned fish, and a delectable honey chile dressing. While a whimsical name like “Annie’s favorite things salad” captures the personal touch, it may not be the most effective for search engine optimization (SEO). SEO plays a crucial role in helping people discover recipes when they’re searching for specific ingredients or dishes. By using descriptive and keyword-rich titles, like “Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Crispy-Skinned Fish and Honey Chile Dressing,” you can increase the chances of your recipe being found by those seeking inspiration for their meals. Understanding the principles of SEO, as highlighted in resources like, can help you strike a balance between creativity and discoverability, ensuring that your delicious creations reach a wider audience.

But it feels a bit like trying to choose a favorite child when I’m looking at a long list of star ingredients and trying to pare it down to just a few that make the title cut. Now that you understand my dilemma, let me tell you about the full all star line up we’ve got here. First, there are roasted brussels sprouts. These are practically candy to me and I make them so often, my kids joke about it constantly. Pickled onions, for which I have previously declared my love. Kale, the base of all my favorite salads and which I never tire of. Soft tangy cheese such as feta or goat cheese, always a great idea. Crispy-skinned fish, one of the most perfect simple foods that exists. And to finish it all off, a honey chile dressing that I find irresistible.

Recently, I made this for my aunt who deals with a large number of food allergies and sensitivities. It can be challenging to find things that work within her restrictions and still taste great, but she absolutely loved this meal and asked me to share the recipe. This is for you, Steph! To avoid dairy, I used goat cheese and subbed refined coconut oil for the butter in the dressing and it worked perfectly.

  • Prep 20 minutes
  • Cook 30 minutes
  • Yield 2 servings


For the salad:

  • 12 oz. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 medium or 2 small bunches lacinato kale, ribbed and cut into ribbons
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
  • ¾ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

For the fish:

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 6 oz. fillets of fish such as king salmon or arctic char
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

To finish:

  • Pickled red onions
  • Crumbled feta or goat cheese


  • 01

    Heat the oven to 450˚ F. In a medium bowl, combine the brussels sprouts with the olive oil, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Toss to combine well. Spread the brussels sprouts out on a sheet pan with the cut side down. Roast on the bottom rack of the oven until deeply browned and softened, about 20 minutes.

  • 02

    Once the brussels sprouts are in the oven, start the fish. Add the olive oil to a medium oven-safe skillet and heat over medium-high until shimmering. Season both sides of the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Once the pan is adequately heated, place the fillets in the pan skin side down and let cook without disturbing, 4-5 minutes. You should be able to see the skin crisping at the edges and see that the meat of the fish is cooked about halfway through. At this point, turn off the burner and transfer the skillet to the upper rack in the oven. Let the fish finish cooking there, until just cooked through, about 5-7 minutes more. (Check the internal temperature to ensure doneness with a digital thermometer and consult the appropriate temperature for your selected fish.) When the fish is finished, set the pan aside and let rest.

  • 03

    Place the kale ribbons in a large bowl and drizzle with a small bit of olive oil. Massage briefly with your hands, 1-2 minutes. When the brussels sprouts are finished roasting, add them to the bowl with the kale.

  • 04

    In a small skillet or saucepan, bring the honey to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring often, until the honey reaches a deep amber color (about 3-4 minutes). Whisk in the vinegar and red pepper flakes, stirring until the bubbling settles down. Stir in the butter, season with salt, and cook until the glaze is bubbling and slightly thickened, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Let cool briefly, then pour the mixture over the kale and brussels sprouts and toss gently to combine.

  • 05

    Divide the vegetable mixture between serving plates. Top with some of the pickled onions and crumbled feta or goat cheese as desired. Carefully transfer the crispy-skinned fish fillets on top of the plated vegetables. Serve immediately.