Smoky Kale Caesar Salad

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

Kale. You either love it or you hate it. I’ve had a place on Team Kale since I tried Baked Kale Chips (whoa that’s from 2010!). GO KALE, GO!

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

Last week I had a super tasty Kale Caesar Salad at Cowgirl Creamery  in Pt. Reyes Station. It was one of those salads that made it to the top of  my MUST RECREATE THIS list in my brain. The kale was supple with a slight bite. There were bits of shredded cheddar (I believe?) in the mix as well as Parmesan. The two provided a nice creaminess to the salad. Cowgirl Creamery knows what’s up! And croutons…TORN CROUTONS..maybe they were cubed but I’m quite partial to torn…

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

I used the Simple Caesar dressing as a base but added a bit of chili powder & smoked paprika to give it a little oomph. Loves!  I can imagine that a little bit of Chipotle Tabasco would add a good smoky taste too. The best part of this salad is that it holds up over time. You can definitely take leftovers to work and they’ll still be good. Just package up some extra croutons cuz you know EXTRA CROUTONS. Always with the extra croutons!

And we’re off! First we start with croutons. Did you know that’s the word of the day??

CROUTONS.

 AHHHH.

My grandmother taught me how to make them when I stayed at her house in San Francisco. It was the only time I spent the night there and not only do I remember breaking one of her snow globes (I FINALLY ADMITTED IT!) I also remember how she taught how to make croutons; it blew my mind.

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

I started cubing the bread for the recipe and saw that the bottom of the 1/2 loaf was burnt. RUDE. So I turned them into TORN CROUTONS which are better anyways. They’re like little unique snowflakes in bread form.

Croutons get tossed in some olive oil and sprinkled with a little kosher salt.

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

Now we get to the salad ingredients.

I sliced the garlic because HELLO it’s getting blended. Do we need to add more work?

Also, anchovies are whole. Same deal.

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

I put everything but the cheeses in a wide mouth jar.

Bust out your Immersion Blender! Alternately, you could use a mini food processor for this task.

BLEND. I seriously don’t know what I’d do without an immersion blender. Sigh…

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

Look at that color! Now stir in half the Parmesan cheese. The other half gets tossed into the salad.

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

Time to chop up the kale. Remove most of the stems. And CHOP. We want pieces that won’t make our mouths have to work extra hard. We want a salad that doesn’t require a knife to eat it.

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

Get out the biggest bowl in your arsenal. We’re gonna dress. Hello CROUTONS! I may have gotten into some…

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

We need to massage the dressing into the kale. It helps make the leaves tender.

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

Now we add the cheese. Toss toss. If you let the salad sit for 5-10 minutes the flavors develop and the kale gets tender. Try it. You’ll like it.

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

CROUTON TIME.

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

Just one of the 3-4 servings. I made three large servings and ate two large servings.

Smoky Kale Caesar // shutterbean

All KALE, Caesar!

Smoky Kale Caesar Salad

makes 3-4 servings

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2-3 anchovy filets, chopped
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons dried chili powder
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup sharp white cheddar, shredded
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 9-10 cups lacinato kale, chopped (about 2 bunches)
  • 2 cups torn croutons (see recipe below)

To make the dressing, mix the vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, anchovies, chili powder, and smoked paprika in a small bowl (or wide mouthed jar). Add olive oil and the egg yolk and mix the dressing with an immersion blender until well incorporated.  Toss in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and add salt & pepper to taste.  It’s best to dip a kale leaf in the dressing to figure out if you need to add more acid or seasoning.

Put the chopped kale in your tossing bowl.  Add dressing a bit at a time and mix it up with some more Parmesan and shredded cheddar. It’s best to “massage” the kale to help saturate the leaves.  Taste to see if it’s been properly dressed.  Right before serving, toss in the croutons then top with a little Parmesan cheese, and fresh ground pepper to taste.

 

TORN CROUTONS

  • half loaf of day old country bread
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • dried herbs (I make a thyme, basil & oregano combo)
  • garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350 F. Tear bread into 1 inch pieces and layer on a baking sheet. Add a few glugs of olive oil and toss until oil is evenly distributed. Season with a pinch of  kosher salt. Place prepared croutons into the oven and bake for 10 minutes, stir and bake another 5-8 minutes (15 minutes total) until golden brown.

 

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52 Comments

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  • January 22, 2014

    Love kale and kale chips and kale salads and I love the dressing you made. Thick and rich and perfect to coat the kale. pinned

  • Jenny
    January 22, 2014

    This looks so good! Where did you buy the salt holder? I really like it! I bought this open egg shaped holder but I like how yours seals.

  • January 22, 2014

    Aaaaaaah this looks SO good. I’m a fully paid up member of team kale too, and this this salad has just gone to the top of my MUST MAKE THAT TRACY SHUTTERBEAN RECIPE list in my head!

  • January 22, 2014

    Need this in my life!

  • January 22, 2014

    I love this. My husband basically only tolerates kale (whaaaat?) but I feel like this could be a recipe that would make him change his tune. Very interested in giving it a try.

  • January 22, 2014

    I’ll admit it, I reallllly don’t love kale. BUT, this could do some hard convincing!

  • January 22, 2014

    Lovely salad!

  • January 22, 2014

    Fabulous! Can’t get enough kale right now! Need this salad!

  • I love, love, love kale and want this now! (Albeit without the anchovies, my taste buds aren’t ready for them yet)

  • January 22, 2014

    Stunning post – girl, you are all IN! Can’t wait to make this one. xox

  • January 22, 2014

    This kale salad looks absolutely amazing! I love kale, especially with a great dressing. Will have to recreate this. xo

  • January 22, 2014

    Ummm–YES! If you say “smoky” and “kale” I’m down, no matter what it is.

  • January 22, 2014

    I’ve been totally into kale lately. This is great way to use it in a salad!

  • January 22, 2014

    I didn’t get into kale until recently and I have to admit I hated kale chips! I am way into raw kale or kale in soups though, so kale still gets a win. I am totes interested in this salad!

  • January 22, 2014

    Love this! The smoky addition is such a good idea, and now I’m wondering why I bother ever cubing croutons. Torn croutons look great!

  • you had me at smoky – it looks so good. Grandmothers know whats up.

  • January 22, 2014

    I am definitely pro-Kale! This is a great variation on the salad. And anything with the word smokey has me in :)

  • January 22, 2014

    I tried kale for the first time last summer and I. LOVE. IT. I can tell I am totally going to love this salad too. I have never made Caesar dressing so I’m looking forward to it!

  • January 22, 2014

    I don’t know why I’ve never thought of tearing croutons but it gives such a nice rustic look to your salad! And kale, very unique for a caesar salad and looks so fresh. Mmmm bread.

  • Wow, this salad looks fantastic! What other sorts of salad dressings would you recommend?

    • Tracy
      January 22, 2014

      I’m not sure I understand your question. Do you want it to not be a Caesar salad?

  • January 22, 2014

    This looks soooooo good!

  • fusilliamy
    January 22, 2014

    YES! Love a new kale salad idea. And now I want a t-shirt that just says CROUTON TIME on it.

  • January 22, 2014

    Yesssssss! So excited to try this one!

  • January 22, 2014

    He he he “All Kale, Caesar”. Torn croutons are the best! More bread to oil surface area.
    Heidi xo

  • Cayla
    January 23, 2014

    How do you wash your kale? Do you rinse the leaves, then cut them? Or do you cut everything, and THEN rinse it? Do you spin-dry or towel-dry it? Or do you just shake off the water?

    Thanks for your help! This salad looks DELICIOUS.

    • Tracy
      January 23, 2014

      I wash it all really well, shake off the excess water and then lay it on a dish towel. Then I cut the stems off and then chop the leaves.

  • I became so hooked on kale that I grew it in my garden last summer! Love it and thankfully my husband came to love it, too. I’ll be making this salad soon!

    • Tracy
      January 23, 2014

      Lucky you! I hope to grow kale this summer!

  • January 23, 2014

    Smoked paprika is my secret weapon in so many recipes, I’ve gotta try it in my caesar dressing next time!

    • Tracy
      January 23, 2014

      I am totally going to use it more now!

  • January 25, 2014

    I’ve been wanting to find a kale salad that I would like and I think I finally found it!

  • January 25, 2014

    I have actually only ever tried kale once, but I remember liking it. This looks incredible!

  • January 26, 2014

    Team kale all the way! I can’t get enough of the stuff! What a great looking salad – that dressing sounds delicious! I’m also obsessed with my immersion blender. What a great invention!

  • January 26, 2014

    I’ve always liked kale well enough but have leaned more towards the chard side of things. Then last week I had the most incredible sautéed kale at this steak place and now I’m hooked. Making this salad ASAP!

  • Karen K
    January 27, 2014

    Will this salad taste just as good WITHOUT the anchovies?
    thanks

  • January 28, 2014

    No words but yum!

  • Carolyn
    February 23, 2014

    This is AMAZING. Quick question- I’m making this for lunch tomorrow but want to make it ahead do time. How long before I’m ready to eat should I dress? Is overnight too long?

    • Tracy
      February 23, 2014

      Overnight is fine if you need to go that long. Kale holds up really well with dressing.

  • April 21, 2014

    SO JEALOUS that you have access to Cowgirl Creamery!! We had one in DC but they just closed a month or two ago. Major sads.

    This salad looks delish! Must try.

    • Tracy
      April 21, 2014

      Oh no! It closed???! That’s so sad.

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