Thursday, December 18, 2014

Loaded Kale Caesar Salad

A big salad is the perfect weeknight throw-in-a-bowl meal to counteract carb-heavy holiday dinners. This kale salad, made with the tender lacinato/dinosaur/black/Tuscan variety, is super-filling and substantial, loaded with savory ingredients like bacon, eggs, anchovies, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Tarragon mustard adds a pleasant anise flavor, but whole grain mustard is a fine substitute.

One weird yet essential part of any kale salad is massaging the kale, which basically means squeezing handfuls of it over and over again like you're wringing out a wet t-shirt. The goal is to bruise the leaves into tenderness so they absorb the dressing and become easier to chew. You'll start out wondering what you're doing and end up oddly enjoying yourself. Now go give that kale some love.

Loaded Kale Caesar Salad

Cooking Time

15 minutes


2 kale bandwagoners

Chef's knife
Cutting board
Large mixing bowl
Small nonstick skillet
Slotted spoon
Whisk or fork

1/4 lb. bacon, coarsely chopped
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons tarragon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 tin anchovy fillets, half of fillets minced, half of fillets coarsely chopped
4 teaspoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Black pepper
Red pepper flakes
1 large bunch lacinato kale, ends of stalks removed, leaves cut into 1" slices (about 10 cups when sliced, but it will shrink when you massage it later on)
3 radishes, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges each
2 hard-cooked eggs, cooled, peeled, and cut into thick slices

1. Sauté bacon in small nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 10 minutes (we add a splash of water to get the cooking started). Remove from skillet with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, cut into small pieces. Boom: homemade bacon bits.

2. Whisk together egg yolk, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, minced anchovy fillets, and Parmigiano-Reggiano in large mixing bowl. Whisk in olive oil. Season to taste with black pepper, red pepper flakes, and Worcestershire (start with 3 or 4 shakes).

3. Add kale to dressing and toss by hand, massaging firmly, until kale has softened and absorbed dressing, about 2 minutes. Add bacon bits, coarsely chopped anchovy fillets, and radish and toss to combine. Top with eggs before serving.

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