Kale is so very popular that you just want to say, 'Really, do you need to hog the whole stage from other leafy greens? How much attention does one vegetable need?' Apparently ALL. You'd think it was the long lost Kardashian sister, Khail. That said, it is a nice little leaf that does offer what it promises. As do I. Which is why I am posting this salad. A few of you asked me to recreate the Kale Caesar Salad that was shown in my review post of Copper 29 Bar. I, much like kale, like to deliver.
But before we get down to the nuts and bolts of ingredients and instructions, let's examine the deeper qualities of this bold veg from the cabbage family and see why kale has gained so much fame of late. First, it is the most nutrient dense leafy gem of all. Packing Vitamins A, K, C, B6, B1, B2, B3, Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron and Phosphorus plus it contains powerful antioxidants. It makes a ton of other boostful claims like lowering your cholesterol and fighting cancer. Well, who doesn't love that?! It's low in calories, low in carbs and good on protein. Gosh damn, what a show off. I guess I can stop being critical and admit it has every right to hog the stage. Can't say that about many others these days.
In the past I have used kale in a few different dishes. I've made kale chips. I've sautéed it. I've made soup with it. I've added it raw to my Spicy Crunch Slaw. I even experimented with it many years ago before Kale was all the rage. I'll post that recipe shortly but for now we will concentrate on hailing to Caesar featuring Kale. In the version from Copper 29, they added radicchio. Alas, my market didn't have any that looked nice enough to grace this salad, so no go on the radicchio. I used romaine instead. (Not because I thought that was an equal substitute but because I had extra in the house. Use what you got.) Their version also used a true Caesar dressing, and you can too. But I don't eat eggs and wanted to come up with a creamy version that eliminated the raw egg. I think I hit the mark on creaminess and then some.
(Makes 6-8 side servings or 4 main)
3 c red kale, finely chopped
3 c green kale, finely chopped
5 c romaine lettuce, chopped
2 T shallots, fine dice
2 T pumpkin seeds, roasted
2 T sunflower seeds
Shards of parm (the amount you desire)
First things first, remove the ribs from the kale leaves. These are way too hard to eat raw. Then chop the kale leaves and lettuce in small pieces. I feel that this is an important step when using hearty kale. If you leave the pieces too large, they can be a bit rough and tough and slightly unmanageable to deal with... Much like a Kardashian. So take the time and chop them fine. Small dice the shallots and shave the Parmesan cheese, setting it aside. Put all your greens and shallots in your bowl our choice, as it awaits its creamy coating.
Now it's time to make the dressing. Remember, if you like traditional Caesar dressing, by all means, knock yourself out. Below is my interpretation for those who also want to eliminate the raw egg.
2/3 c Buttermilk
1/2 c Greek yogurt
1 T chives
1 T parsley, chopped
1/2 heaping tsp garlic, crushed
1/2 t Mustard
2-3 T Parmesan cheese, grated
/2 t lemon zest
1 T lemon juice
1/2 full tsp salt
1/4 t pepper
Then combine all the above ingredients, whisking until smooth. Easy, peasy.
Usually, I don't dress my salad until right before serving. However, due to the heartiness of the leaf, I consider this salad to be more like a slaw which really demands time to let the dressing soak in. Lovingly pour it over the salad a 1/2 hour before serving, but hold off on adding the shards of parm until right before serving. Try not to eat too many while you wait. If you do, just shave some more.
Now here's the part that rockets this recipe to the stars. Copper 29 served their salad with croutons that were more like heavenly toasts. Here's my version of those bad boys.
4-6 thick slices of good crusty bread
3 T butter, room temp softened
1 T Bourbon
1 t Crushed garlic
In a bowl, mash together garlic, butter and bourbon. Slather the mixture on both sides of the bread slices.
Sprinkle with sea salt and grill both sides til beautifully browned. I use a cast iron pan which does the trick.
Sure this bread has butter AND bourbon, but given Kale's super power properties I think it negates any adverse effects from this mighty 'crouton'.
So enjoy it all, down to the last crumb, as did my guests. All in all, I was pleased with how this salad turned out. I think you will enjoy it too. Thank goodness we can all Hail the Kale without there being a social media scandal.