Kale Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons
- Prep time 35 mins
- Cook time 10 mins
- Ready in 45 mins
- Yield Serves 4
One of Chef Heidi’s most beloved recipes, this Kale Caesar with Garlic Croutons knocks it out of the park with flavour! The secret to a lovely texture is to massage the chopped kale with salt and vinegar to soften and flavour the leaves. This is a great side dish or vegetarian main.
Kale: remove leaves from the stems; discard stems. Chop leaves into small, bite-sized peices. Place the prepared kale leaves in a large bowl with the salt and whte wine vinegar. Use your hands (wearing surgical gloves, if possible) to massage the vinegar and salt into the kale until the leaves have softened and wilted, about 5 minutes. Be firm with the kale; massage it like you mean it! This is how we soften the kale so that it is pleasant to eat. The kale will reduce in volume to about 1/3 its former size.
Dressing; Combine everything except olive oil in a small glass mason jar, screw the lid on tightly, and shake well. Add the olive oil, screw on the lid, and shake again until dressing is emulsified.
Alternatively, make this is a bowl with a whisk.
Croutons: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cover a baking sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Let sit for at least ten minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the bread into cubes. I usually cut them into 2 cm cubes (approx.). Cut them into smaller cubes if using as a garnish. Put the bread cubes into the bowl with the oil mixture and immediately use your hands to toss very well, until the bread is evenly coated with the garlic oil.
Spread these in one layer on the parchment-lined tray. Make sure the bread cubes are not touching each other, if possible.
Place in the oven and bake for six minutes. Stir the croutons around with a flipper or wooden spoon, return to the oven, and bake for 2 to 4 minutes more. The croutons should still be a littel bit soft when they come out of the oven. They will crisp up as they cool. (If making smaller croutons, start with 4 minutes, stir, then continue baking for 2 to 3 minutes.) Remove from oven and allow to cool.
To assemble salad: Pour the dressing into the bowl with the softened kale leaves (leave the salt and vinegar on the kale, this is an important part of the dressing!). Mix very well, until the kale is all thoroughly coated with the dressing. Add the croutons, saving some for a garnish, if desired, and mix again.
Divid into bowls and garnish with lashings of grated parmesan cheese, and more croutons.
This can be made into a full meal with a side of grilled protein and/or grilled vegetables.