Kale Caesar? Kale Yeah!
Today’s post is by our resident farm foodie – Debra Dubief
Caesar salads worked themselves into ubiquity in the 90’s and began to fall from favor in the early part of this century. Now, after a good hiatus, seems a lot of us are enjoying them once again. After all, a creamy mix of garlic, lemon and olive oil – with or without the anchovies — is not something one would want to give up on permanently.
There are a lot of great reasons why a kale Caesar salad is a perfect dish for New Year’s entertaining, especially if you are serving a crowd. With all the panache of a regular Caesar, but without the wilt worry, this delicious salad stays perky even after sitting on a buffet for awhile. Kale’s firmer leaves don’t break down nearly as fast as traditional romaine, and actually benefit from a little “tenderizing” that comes after a half hour or so — allowing you to toss it before guests arrive and avoid the last minute fuss a fresh Caesar usually requires.
And if this isn’t enough to have you running to add kale to your order, how about doing it just for luck? Thought to represent wads of cash, leafy greens have been eaten for centuries to help usher in prosperity along with the New Year. While I may be somewhat dubious as to the effect eating greens will have on my financial bottom line, I know it do my physical one a world of good.
Lacinato is my favorite kale variety and it works beautifully in this salad, but any variety will do. The dressing makes approximately enough for one good sized bunch. Multiply as needed.
Kale Caesar with Homemade Dressing
If raw kale sounds like too much of a jaw workout try massaging 1 tsp of salt and 2 tablespoons lemon juice into the kale leaves until they tenderize. Let sit for a few minutes.
1 bunch Lacinato kale or other kale, center stalks removed
3 flat anchovy fillets, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 coddled egg (see note)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
8-10 ounces croutons
Wash and dry the kale then cut crosswise into thin strips.
Mash anchovies and garlic together in a small bowl to make a paste.
Whisk in lemon juice. Add yolk, plus about 2 teaspoons white, from the coddled egg and whisk well.
Slowly add the oil, whisking constantly until the dressing is emulsified.
Season with pepper to taste, there should be plenty of salt from the anchovies.
Toss kale with dressing and Parmigiano. Add croutons and serve.
Note: To coddle egg place in a heat-proof dish and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes.