It was at a small gourmet marketplace near me that I first discovered the kale Caesar salad. I was dubious about it at first- while I love kale, I've typically found Caesar salad to be heavy and soggy. Despite my reservations, I tried it and was promptly addicted- the kale leaves are sturdy enough to hold up to the dressing, and their bitterness provide a beautiful counterpoint to the dressing's creaminess. Soon enough, I was making any excuse to head over to said marketplace, much to the chagrin of my wallet. I finally decided to try to replicate the salad for myself. I'm super satisfied with the results and hope you are too.
Approximately 20 oz. curly kale, washed, patted dry, and tough stems removed
Croutons (you can make your own, I'm lazy so I buy them)
hunk of good Parmesano Reggiano cheese
For dressing (adapted from www.marthastewart.com ):
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4-5 anchovy fillets
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (more if needed)
Note: Martha's recipe calls for salt- my experience is that the anchovies and Parmesan make the salad salty enough without the added salt, but I would recommend making the dressing and adjusting it to your taste. I also added an extra teaspoon of lemon juice since I like a lot of acid in my salad dressings. Again, I would tinker with the proportions to your liking.
Dump all dressing ingredients except the olive oil into a powerful blender. Blend until a puree forms. Continue to blend with the motor on low and drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified. Taste the dressing on a piece of kale and add more olive oil if the flavors are too intense. If adding more olive oil, blend again to re-emulsify.
Place the well-dried kale in a large salad bowl. Add the dressing in stages, tossing until the leaves are well coated but not overdressed (you may not need all the dressing). Add the croutons and, using a vegetable peeler, create thin curls of Peccorino Romano to top the salad. Enjoy!