Hail to the Kale: Caesar Salad
I still have no power or heat (26F degrees last night) as of this morning, and another storm is brewing. Lovely.
Though I can light my gas stove with a match, I am lost without my oven.
I never realized how much roasting I do! and going out to dinner is getting old and very expensive, not to mention FATTENING! My sister-in-law called it the "Sandy 15" (instead of the Freshman 15!).
I am still thankful that we are able to eat at friend's homes and a meal out. Our friends and neighbors have all been sharing gas, a bottle of wine and good conversation. I am thankful. (So, I am not really complaining, just thinking out loud).
I know you are feeling withdrawal (and spoiled!) from my daily recipes and banter, and I am feeling lonely too.
I love blogging and the people I have met thru my site. The emails are amazing that have been pouring in. It is the only thing that is keeping me sane and in a routine.
Blogging is my therapy, I always thought cooking was, but I guess not.
Hearing from everyone and what is going on in their neighborhood from the storm, or just that they are walking their dog and it's 80F degrees and sunny (screw you, I don't want to hear it!), makes me feel like it's a regular day.
Readers from California wanting to help in New Jersey, friends in France wishing they could make us a meal! (you think I don't wish I was in Paris right now???).
Well, here was something I could prepare for you yesterday in my freezing kitchen without any cooking!
Talk about dedication. You owe me one.
Food is fashionable.
Let's face it, every year there seems to be a new trend in food.
Truffle oil was 2 years ago.
Last year chefs were doing that silly molecular gastronomy thing (cooking with foam), and this year seems to be the year of the KALE.
I say that because 4 restaurants I've dined at recently, have had either sauteed kale as a side dish, or a kale Caesar salad on their menu.
I was curious about a kale Caesar Salad.
How do you mess with tradition? Romaine lettuce is king in the world of Caesar salads (and so are anchovies and raw egg by the way).
So, I made a kale caesar salad, and to be healthy, I made whole wheat croutons too (and no raw egg).
To my surprise and delight, the kale wins.
It is hearty and dark green and can hold up to a nice pungent, heavy dressing like a Caesar.
Kale is also much healthier than Romaine lettuce, it is a good source of fiber and iron as well as vitamin A. Just sayin'.
The only difficulty here is removing the tough stems from the kale leaves, other than that, the dressing can be made the day before, and the grated hard boiled eggs can be done well ahead too.
Tuscan Kale Caesar Salad: (adapted from epicurious)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
8 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
1 garlic clove
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2-3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 hard-boiled egg, peeled, yolk separated from white
14 ounces kale, washed, center stalks removed, thinly sliced crosswise (about 8 cups)
I used Cavolo Nero (Tuscan kale), but you can use Lacinato or any other kale you like.
If you want to make this a cole slaw, like the original recipe reads, then just slice the leaves into ribbons, I kept my leaves larger for more of a salad.
Mix the first 4 ingredients in a food processor or blender and whiz.
Slowly add the olive oil to the dressing in the blender, until you get the consistency you like. (The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup of olive oil, however, I use much less, so taste and see how you like it).
Transfer the dressing to a bowl or container.
Stir in the 1/4 cup of grated cheese into the dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
Using a mesh sieve, press the egg whites thru the strainer with the back of a wooden spoon into one bowl, then press the yolks into another. You can also use a grater if you don't have a mesh sieve.
When ready to serve, toss the kale leaves with the dressing and sprinkle on the grated egg garnish. Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese on top and add croutons if you like.
My taste testers loved this version.
I hope next year's food trend is CHOCOLATE and that my oven is turned back on tomorrow!