Capitol Hill Cooks | Kale Caesar salad inspired by 14th and Union

(Images: Em/CHS)

We residents of Capitol Hill are a varied bunch. You go to the Skillet Diner for the poutine? Your sister goes for the bacon jam? Me, I go for the kale salad.

If you are a kale doubter, this is the salad for you. If you are a kale maven, this is the salad for you. If you only eat salad for the creamy dressing, this right here is the salad for you.


Kale is an assertive green, true, but the Caesar-inspired dressing tames it remarkably here. The homemade croutons (I made mine from challah) add crunch and the bite of black pepper. The anchovies add depth of flavor and a bit of intrigue. As Josh Henderson says in his new Skillet Cookbook: A Street Food Manifesto (Sasquatch Books, 2012), this salad tastes both healthy and hearty at the same time. Does it get better than that?

(Images: Em/CHS)

To make your salad a full meal, you can follow Skillet’s lead and top it with a piece of grilled salmon or fried chicken. Or you can serve it alongside any sandwich, pizza, or soup. With its wintry hue, a Kale Caesar Salad would even look right at home on your Thanksgiving table (and wouldn’t THAT be a nice change?).

The Broadway Farmers Market is open clear until Christmas, so grab your greens this weekend.

Kale Caesar Salad
(c)2012 By Josh Henderson. All rights reserved. Excerpted from The Skillet Cookbook: A Street Food Manifesto by permission of Sasquatch Books.

My buddy Cormac Mahoney inspired this salad. He has a kale salad on the menu at his restaurant in Seattle, Madison Park Conservatory. He taught me that using raw kale is OK. Most kale recipes call for cooking it down into a mush, robbing it of its dense texture and strong, wholesome taste. Cormac freed me from that. I played around with a few dressings and discovered that kale and Caesar are a match made in heaven. Most other greens can’t stand up to the rich and creamy Caesar dressing, but the kale just shines through. In turn the dressing helps quiet the bitter kale taste, which can be too strong on its own. This salad tastes healthy and hearty at the same time. To top the salad, we like to use boquerónes, little Spanish anchovies that are packed in vinegar. You can find them in the deli section of well-stocked markets and specialty shops. If you can’t find them, plain anchovies work fine too.

FOR THE CROUTONS:

4 cups day-old bread cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt

FOR THE CAESAR DRESSING:

2 small cloves garlic, minced
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
1⁄2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper

FOR THE SALAD:

1 pound lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves cut into long, thin ribbons (chiffonade)
8 boquerónes or plain anchovy fillets

1. To prepare the croutons, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss the bread cubes with the olive oil, pepper, and salt until well coated. Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Allow them to cool and set aside.

2. To prepare the Caesar dressing, in a large bowl mash the garlic cloves into a paste with the salt. Add the anchovy paste, lemon zest and juice, mustard, Worcestershire, mayonnaise, parmesan, and pepper and combine.

3. To assemble the salad, toss the kale with 1 cup of the dressing. Divide the salad among 4 plates, piling it so it stands tall. Scatter croutons over the top and criss- cross 2 boquerónes in an X on the top of each plate.

Capitol Hill Cooks is a home cooking recipe series featuring ingredients, ideas, and recipes from the neighborhood. Have a recipe you think we should share? Drop us a line at chs@capitolhillseattle.com. Em also writes about home cooking at emmycooks.com, and some of her other favorite kale salads include Grilled Kale Salad with Ricotta and Plums and Kale Salad with Apples, Currants, and Gorgonzola.

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