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Kale Caesar Salad

Classic Caesar and Kale Salad Combine Forces

I've got nothing against a traditional caesar salad, but sometimes a classic is due for a little shaking up. Sometimes that means giving the romaine leaves a nice char on the grill or drizzling the pungent dressing over a pile of asparagus ribbons; or, in this case, swapping toothsome, slightly bitter kale for the romaine. Kale may lack romaine's crisp crunch, but it won me over for a different reason: it adds a bit of bite to the dish and it holds up well, meaning that it can be dressed ahead of time and brought to work for lunch (add the croutons right before eating).

Kale Caesar Salad

Adapted from Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson

Kale Caesar Salad

Ingredients

  1. For the croutons:
  2. 4 1-inch slices day-old crusty bread, cubed or torn into 1-inch pieces
  3. 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  4. Kosher salt
  5. 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence (optional)
  1. For the salad:
  2. 2 lemons
  3. 3 small garlic cloves
  4. 6 olive-oil-packed anchovy fillets
  5. 1 large egg yolk
  6. Kosher salt
  7. 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
  8. 2 bunches dinosaur kale, center stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  9. 2/3 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Directions

  1. Make the croutons: Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a medium bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil, a generous pinch of salt, and the herbes de Provence, if using. Spread the bread evenly on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Midway through the baking time, redistribute the croutons if they are coloring unevenly.
  2. Make the dressing: Grate the zest from 1 lemon. Cut both lemons in half. Place the garlic, anchovies, and lemon zest in a blender, and blend until a thick paste is formed. Add the egg yolk, a pinch of salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice, and pulse to combine. Blend on low speed while pouring in 1/2 cup of the olive oil drop by drop. The mixture should look thick and creamy, a sign that you are building a stable emulsion. Continuing to blend, begin adding the oil in a slow stream. The dressing should thicken. Periodically stop pouring in the oil and add a squeeze of lemon. Taste the dressing, and add more salt and lemon juice to taste. Add water, a small spoonful at a time, blending to thin the dressing to the consistency of heavy cream.
  3. Make the salad: In a large bowl, combine the kale and croutons. Pour the dressing over the top (to taste), and toss to coat. Add the parmesan, toss again, and serve.
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