For the 2014 VegOut! Challenge, Amy Anton, Houston mom of three boys, shares a favorite recipe of her oldest son, which is a perfect method to check kale off of your family's Veggie Log.
When I picked my twelve-year-old up from camp last year, the first thing he asked for was a Kale Caesar Salad. Wow, you might think, what an enlightened child, what a lucky mom. In some ways yes, in others, I just chuckle.
Kale is the super food of the year, on every menu in town, and, really yummy, but that is not why he loves it. He loves kale because it is a hearty leaf that can stand up to a serious Caesar dressing with a flurry of cheese, and still have fortitude. There's no limp, watery lettuce here. It's just stiff greens with briny anchovies, tart lemon, and the nutty goodness of parmesan. If that's what it takes for him to inhale an entire bunch of kale, so be it. There are a couple tricks we have learned along the way that make the salad the success that it is.
First, hold the rib of the kale in one hand and, with a sharp knife, just cut down the rib to remove the leaf. The rib is too bitter and hard to eat most of the time. Then chop chop chop all of the kale into fine pieces.
The recipe for the dressing is below, but we have a couple pointers. For one, mellowing the garlic in the lemon juice is a good thing, as it removes the raw garlic taste you would have otherwise. Also, don't be shy with the anchovies. Ashton has been known to slip in 6-8 anchovies! He likes strong flavors.
And last, massage the kale. Kids love to get their hands dirty, so this is fun for an idle child begging for dinner now. Massaging the dressing into the leaves with your hands really makes a difference. The kale needs to be persuaded into accepting the dressing, melding the flavors into one.
There are also endless possibilities for add-ins: tart cherries, avocado, pepitas, slivered almonds, thinly sliced radish... you name it.
Ashton's Caesar Salad
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1-2 lemons
Dash Worcestershire sauce
1 T Dijon mustard
2 anchovy filets
Yolk of 1 egg
1/2 C grape seed oil (or other mild flavored oil)
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
1 head kale
- Juice the lemon, mince the garlic and combine, letting them sit in a small mixing bowl while you chop the kale.
- Whisk in the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, anchovies, and egg yolk.
- Slowly add the oil while whisking constantly.
- Whisk in the the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour desired amount of dressing over kale and massage it into the leaves.
- Let dressed salad sit, covered, in the fridge for about 30 minutes to absorb the flavors.
- Top with desired add-ins, if using, and serve!