Caesar salad; delicious classic that can run the risk of getting boring. Without bastardizing things too much we found some baby kale to add a little bitterness and texture, added bacon (surprise!), and used sourdough for the croutons. The result was a slightly heartier version that played well with our more traditional dressing (make your own and you’ll never go back to the store-bought stuff). Um…romaine who?
Equipment Needed: Frying Pan, Blender or Food Processor, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Wooden Spoon, Paper Towels, Sieve or Salad Spinner, Small Mixing Bowl, Fork
Serving Suggestion: Family Style
Suggested Wine Pairing: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
Suggested Beer Pairing: Pale Ale, Black IPA, Dry Stouts
- 10 oz baby kale (you can use two bunches of normal kale if you can’t find the other stuff) ($4.49/5 oz package)
- 6 slices sourdough bread (about $3.99/loaf)
- 6 slices thick cut bacon ($7.99/lb)
- 4 eggs ($12.99/lb
- 2 lemons ($0.50/each)
- 2-3 cloves garlic ($2.99/lb)
- 4-5 anchovy fillets ($1.99/12 oz tin)
- 1/2 C Parmigianna Reggiano cheese ($12.99/lb)
- 1 TSP capers ($2/3 oz jar)
- 1/2 TSP ground mustard ($3.49/3 oz)
- 1/2 TSP cayenne pepper ($2/3.5 oz jar)
- 1/4 C & 3 TBSP extra virgin olive oil, separated ($8.99/32 oz)
- Separate your eggs and pour the yolks into your blender (or food processor). Peel and crush the garlic cloves and toss them in as well.
- Squeeze in the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and grate in about 1/2 a cup of Parmigianna Regianno. Throw in the anchovies, mustard, cayenne pepper, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a teaspoon’s worth of capers. Blend the whole lot together.
- Once the solids have broken down slowly pour in 1/4 C of extra virgin olive oil. Be careful not to thin it out too much, though; the dressing should still be able to coat a spoon without running off that easily.
- Taste, taste, taste. Caesar dressing is all about the right balance and is more art than science. The flavors will need a little time to meld, though, so stop when it’s at the brink of where you want it then pop the dressing in the fridge for an hour. You can always go back and readjust more later.
- Sift through your kale and throw out any overly wilted or rotten leaves. Rinse, dry and set aside.
- Place the frying pan over medium heat and add your strips of bacon. While your piggie pieces are crisping up take the sourdough bread and cut it into 1/2-1 inch cubes and set aside.
- When the bacon is nicely crisped up remove it from the pan and drain it on paper towels. Leave the fat in the frying pan, though, as this is going to help flavor your croutons. Yes, bacon fat croutons.
- Thow in the bread cubes and stir so they get evenly coated with the remaining fat. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over everything to provide the extra lubrication required and salt and pepper liberally. Leave the bread to sit for about 4 minutes per side and once it’s crisped stir it up to fry the other sides.
- In a large mixing bowl add the kale and pour the dressing over the top. Toss the leaves thoroughly to ensure even coverage.
- Cut the bacon into thin strips crosswise. Sprinkle over the greenery and add croutons until you’re satiated. Stir it up if you want to further incorporate the dressing or eat it as is to keep the flavors distinct. Grate some extra cheese on top if your heart desires and get to it.