Kale has become über trendy, so I hope you’re not “kaled out” just yet. There’s always a place at my table for kale. Kale’s hearty leaves are the ideal addition to salads, soups, and stews. Raw, braised, sauteed, or baked…an all-around versatile green.
Sometimes (often) I yearn for nothing more than a nice, big salad — a big ole’ plate of greens. Like to mix it up, depending on what’s in season. Especially enjoy all the colorful fall vegetables, such as rainbow carrots, kohlrabi, and watermelon radish.
Decided to do a take on Caesar salad, with kale in place of your standard Romaine lettuce. Lacinato/Dino and curly kale prepared two ways — raw and thinly sliced, and a handful of crispy baked kale chips on top for a little added crunch — went into the salad.
In addition to the kale, I added a combination of fresh herbs (mint and basil) and some spicy baby arugula leaves — a loose interpretation of a Caesar salad to say the least. To change things up, you could also add watercress or mizuna (also known as Japanese mustard greens), both of which have a pepperiness similar to arugula, or even frisée/curly endive (more bitter than peppery).
Seems as though people either love or hate kale; I suspect that those in the latter camp could be easily swayed with a batch of freshly baked, crispy kale chips.
Who doesn’t like kale chips? The only “bad” thing is that kale chips are highly addictive, and it’s not uncommon to eat an entire batch in one sitting. The good news, replinishng them is quick and easy.
Thinly sliced, lovely yellow, red, and purple rainbow-colored carrots, along with watermelon radish, give this salad a punch of color. Finished with a grating of Parmesan, sprouted garlic croutons, and a handful of crispy kale chips (add just before serving so the kale chips retain their crispiness), the perfect salad for a crisp autumn evening.
Fall is definitely in the air, with all sorts of good stuff at the farmers’ market. The window for your favorite vegetable or fruit may be short, so best to savor it as much you can before it disappears.
Aren’t watermelon radish fascinating? Love how bright and flashy they are when you slice them open…sometimes you find a purple one amongst the lot.
Made an aioli dressing with an egg yolk, extra-virgin olive oil, anchovies, garlic, and a squeeze of lemon.
The key to making an aioli is to add the olive oil very slowly at the beginning, and then whisk, whisk, whisk…you’ll feel like you got a good upper arm workout. The egg yolk acts as an emulsifier to bind the oil and water together; if you add the oil too quickly, the oil and water will separate. Making aioli can be a bit tricky at first, but after a few tries you’ll get the hang of it.
By the way, there’s a little bacon in the salad too. Why not? Life is just better with bacon. And a couple of (medium-boiled) eggs; or, cook a minute or two longer for hard-boiled eggs.
Crispy Kale ‘Caesar’ Salad
1 large bunch Lacinato/Dino kale, stems removed, thinly sliced
handful chopped basil leaves
handful chopped mint leaves
handful baby arugula leaves
thinly sliced carrots (used a mandolin)
thinly sliced radish, such as watermelon (used a mandolin)
2-3 medium- to hard- boiled eggs, sliced into wedges
few strips of cooked crispy bacon, roughly chopped
Parmesan cheese, finely granted
Crispy kale chips (recipe below)
Caesar dressing (recipe below)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Place the greens, herbs, and other vegetables in a large bowl. Toss with desired amount of dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the egg wedges on top. Sprinkle the chopped bacon around the bowl. Top with croutons, grated Parmesan, and crispy kale chips.
Crispy Kale Chips
1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, torn into small pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, toss the kale with a little bit of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) so the leaves are lightly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the kale out in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or so, until crispy.
3 to 4 oil packed anchovies
1 to 2 cloves garlic
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne (optional)
Place the anchovies and garlic in a mortar and pound with a pestle to make a thick paste. Add the egg yolk. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, slower at first — drop by drop — until it forms an emulsion.
Continue to add the olive oil in a slow stream, whisking all the while, until thick and creamy. Add the lemon juice and whisk to combine. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of cayenne.