Tuesday, January 22, 2013

kale caesar salad

Food is the thing I think about the most. I don't mean simply thinking about what I want to eat for dinner or the next recipe I'm going to try. It's more of a never ending inner monologue about the ethics and health benefits of the food I'm eating. It's an effect of living in a society where food is a mass-produced commodity. We have so many choices about how we want to eat, that it causes an endless debate about what is ethical and what is healthy.

Prior to moving in with my mother, I rarely ate meat at home. I'm not comfortable with preparing it or with where most meat comes from. For the last month I have thrown my beliefs about food out the window, eating a variety of frozen meals and more meat than is ever necessary. Fortunately, my mother appealed to my vanity last week, telling me what an amazing cook I had become and asking me to make more meals. I agreed and now there is a plethora of healthy, vegetable based meals in my future. I started out last night with a Vegetable Tart with Gruyère & Fresh Thyme and this Kale Caesar Salad.

Kale Caesar

kale caesar salad

from Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson
4 slices of day old bread
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon herbes de Provence

Kale Caesar:
3 garlic cloves
6 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads kale, center stems removed
⅔ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

To make the croutons, preheat the oven to 400°F. In a bowl, toss the torn bread with the olive oil, a pinch of salt, and the herbs. Spread the bread evenly on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 15 minute, flipping halfway.

To make the dressing, grate the zest from 1 lemon. Cut the lemon in half. Place the garlic, anchovies, and lemon zest in a mortar and pound with a pestle to make a thick paste. Add the egg yolk, a pinch of salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice and stir thoroughly to combine. Continuing to stir, pour in 1/2 cup of the oil drop by drop. The mixture should look smooth and creamy, a sign that you are building a stable emulsion. Continuing to stir, begin adding the oil in a slow stream. The dressing should thicken. Periodically stop pouring in the oil and add a squeeze of lemon. Taste the dressing and add more salt and lemon juice to taste. Add water, a small spoonful at a time, stirring to thin dressing to the consistency of heavy cream.

In a large bowl, combine the kale and croutons. Pour the dressing over the top and toss to coat. Add the Parmesan, toss again, and serve.

Kale Caesar
Kale Caesar

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