Kale Caesar salad with homemade croutons

Posted by on Jul 10, 2015 in Recipes by Karen Gros | 0 comments

Kale Caesar salad with homemade croutons

Caesar Cardini (Italian-born Mexican) is credited with creating this legendary salad. Cardini was living in San Diego but also working in Tijuana where he avoided the restrictions of prohibition. Cardini made do with what he had, successfully adding the dramatic flair of the table-side tossing “by the chef”. Four years later Cardini moved his restaurant to the newly constructed namesake Hotel Caesar which, after major renovation in 1990, continues to operate to this day and prepare table-side “ensalada Caesar per tradition” claiming to serve the “original Caesar salad”. Today, many versions of this classic salad exist ~ simply shred or chop various vegetables and toss with the dressing.

Recipe by Karen Gros.

Serves 4-6

2 medium bunches spring or summer kale
2 garlic cloves
4 anchovy fillets
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (about 14 grinds)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1 large egg yolk
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups bread, cut into ¾-inch cubes (alternately: Udi’s or Rudi’s gluten-free crust-less white bread)
1 teaspoon sea salt
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup shaved or coarsely grated parmesan, romano, or pecorino

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash and dry the kale well, and chop the kale leaves into 1- to 1½-inch pieces (discarding stems). Press the garlic into a wooden salad bowl. Add the anchovy fillets and salt, mashing with a fork to form a paste. Whisk in the pepper, lemon juice, Worcestershire, mustard, and egg yolk. Let sit for 3 minutes, so that the mustard and lemon juice “cook” the yolk. Whisk in the olive oil. Toss the kale with sauce to coat evenly. Set aside for 20 minutes. 
  2. Make the croutons: Combine the melted butter and two tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl. Add the cubes of bread, and toss until coated. Sprinkle the salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper; toss until evenly coated. Spread the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking pan. Bake until the croutons are golden, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool until needed.
  3. Toss the croutons and cheese with the kale, and serve.

Do-ahead dressing: Add all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. Store, refrigerated, up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before using. The croutons are best made no more than half an hour before assembling the salad.

Note on raw egg yolk: Egg yolk “cooks” upon contact with mustard, if allowed to sit for 3 minutes before adding the oil. However, if you prefer not to use the raw yolk in this recipe, substitute 1 tablespoon prepared mayonnaise. I do not recommend using factory eggs raw.

kale caesar web