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Kale Caesar

Kale Caesar (Sheryl Julian/Globe Staff)
November 11, 2009

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You might be skeptical about making a salad with raw, somewhat bitter, leafy greens. I was when a friend suggested it. Tuscan kale, also known as lacinato or dinosaur “dino’’ kale, has thin, flat, deep-green, bubble-textured leaves. It’s most flavorful and tender after the first frost, and it’s often sauteed or stirred into soups. Following my friend’s lead, I tossed the raw greens, cut into ribbons, with an eggless Caesar dressing made with lemon juice, mashed anchovies, garlic, Parmesan, and a stream of olive oil. We topped the kale with large croutons sauteed in olive oil until crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. Unlike most leafy greens, raw kale benefits from wilting slightly in the dressing, which tenderizes it. The salad is low-maintenance and healthy. This was love at first bite.

5 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped or 1/2 tablespoon anchovy paste
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
3 cups diced bread
Salt, to taste
1 pound (about 2 bunches) Tuscan, lacinato, or dinosaur kale, stemmed and sliced into 1/4-inch ribbons
1. In a food processor or blender, blend the anchovies and 1 clove of the garlic. Add the lemon juice and vinegar. With the motor running, add 1/2 cup of the oil in a thin steady stream. Add pepper and Parmesan.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining 1/4 cup oil . Add the remaining 1 clove garlic and the bread cubes. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until crisp and golden. Discard the garlic and transfer the croutons to a bowl. Toss with salt.

3. Five to 10 minutes before serving, in a salad bowl, combine the kale and enough dressing to coat it. Add the croutons. Jill Santopietro