I didn’t realize how much I’ve been eating and talking about kale lately. I think kale’s 15 minutes of faddishness is about over, but hopefully it won’t be completely forgotten when the next “it” vegetable inevitably eclipses it, because I actually really like it. The nice thing about food (unlike fashion) is, even if it’s not “in” it doesn’t stop tasting good or being good for you – so it doesn’t ever really go “out” unless maybe you own a really cutting-edge or trendy restaurant, in which case, I’m sorry.
I’ve also posted about caesar dressing before, back during my sauce series. I always prefer to make my own dressing, but sometimes I’m not up for breaking out my food processor and making a big batch of perishable salad sauce. When these moments of laziness strike (liiike 80% of the time) I mix up a little something in the bottom of whatever salad bowl I’m using. And if I’m honest, I kind of like this particular caesar better than the full-on “real” caesar. It’s a little bit healthier and even punchier in flavor, so it dances well with kale’s assertive green-ness and doesn’t totally negate the wholesomeness of salad. Plus, I almost always have everything I need to throw it together at the last minute, which isn’t the case with real caesar dressing (sorry, anchovies).
I even made fun of kale salads in my last soup post. All the chewing! But if you use the right kale (tuscan/lacinatno/dino – not curly), and you cut it with a bit of romaine, it’s actually really nice and no more trouble than a normal salad. Kale’s hardiness even makes this salad more filling than the average bowl of leaves. With some homemade garlic croutons, maybe a tomato and a few olives, it’s almost lunch.
Kale and Romaine Salad with Shortcut Caesar Dressing
serves 4-6 as a side, 2-3 as a main
for the dressing:
-2 Tbsp mayo
-1 small clove garlic, grated or finely minced
-1 tsp worcestershire
-1 tsp white wine vinegar
-1/2 to 1 tsp dijon mustard (depending on how strong yours is)
-2 Tbsp grated parmesan or pecorino cheese (parm is classic, but I like pecorino)
-1/4 tsp kosher salt or fine sea salt
-lots of fresh cracked black pepper
for the salad:
-1 small bunch lacinato/dino/tuscan kale (it’s all the same, just stay away from curly)
-1 “heart” of romaine (they usually come in packs of 3)
for the croutons (if you’re going there):
– crusty bread, preferably stale
-olive oil (enough to lightly coat the bread)
-1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1. If you’re making croutons, start with that. Cube up your bread and spread it on a baking tray. In a small dish, combine garlic with a few tablespoons of olive oil and pour it over the bread. Mix with your hands and sprinkle with salt. Bake at 350 F until golden and crispy, about 15 minutes. (Kind of like making crostini, but cubic instead of flat)
2. Wash and chop your kale and romaine and dry it as well as possible.
3. In the bottom of your salad bowl, combine mayo, garlic, vinegar, worcestershire, mustard, cheese, salt and pepper. Whisk together and taste. It will be very strong – that’s good – it needs to be strong to stand up to the kale. Add salt or make adjustments now if you like (more cheese, more vinegar, whatever).
4. Pile salad greens in your bowl on top of your dressing and use tongs or a spoon and fork to toss the greens until they are coated with dressing. (Lift from the bottom of the bowl to make sure all the dressing gets incorporated). Top with fresh croutons and serve. Also, it’s not properly caesar-y, but I do like to add tomatoes.