When it comes to decadent dressings, all kale Caesar

I love Caesar salad for its simplicity, while adding chicken makes for a more substantial meal

Kale Caesar salad

Kale Caesar salad

 

My parents have gorgeous happy hens that lay the most amazing eggs, so I never want to waste them. Egg whites keep well and can even be frozen but yolks don’t like to dilly dally. Once separated from the white, they seem to panic, sealing over and solidifying once the air hits.

They need to be blended with something, whisked into an emulsion or dropped gently to cure in soy sauce like Nadine Levy Redzepi does. She cures the raw yolks in a bowl of soy sauce for 45-60 minutes then serves them over white rice for breakfast, or pasta for dinner. It’s simple but beautiful cooking.

I usually turn to mayonnaise, or this divine Caesar salad dressing, to use them up. I love Caesar salad for its simplicity. A great fully flavoured dressing over good quality leaves, plenty of Parmesan and some chunky croutons. I don’t usually add chicken, but it does make it more of a substantial meal. Cooked chickpeas are great too. Nigella Lawson adds crunchy tortilla chips to hers instead of croutons, but for me the bread has a very definite role. I love to use day-old sourdough, drizzled with olive oil and fried on the hob. Or pop the tray of croutons in the oven.

My sister, Raedi, has been growing the most amazing kale this year and transforming those dark green chlorophyll-filled leaves with this salty, addictive dressing. This dressing needs a robust leaf to cling to. No limp butterhead will do. Kale on the other hand needs a strong dressing, so it’s a match made in heaven. I sometimes blend a perfectly ripe avocado into this dressing, it makes it even more filling and substantial and it’s great with the anchovies. All of those good fats create an even more balanced dish. Then I sprinkle the top with some crunchy toasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

If you’re not happy using raw eggs in this, then you could always base your dressing on a ready-made mayonnaise. Just add lemon juice, a little extra olive oil and the anchovies and mustard to the mayonnaise to enrich it. Taste as you go. I’ll gladly use raw eggs once I know where they’re from and once I can tell how fresh they are. As always, the fresher the better.

KALE CAESAR SALAD 

Serves four

8-10 stalks of kale, stem removed and torn into bite-size pieces
2 egg yolks, as fresh as possible and at room temperature
1tsp Dijon mustard
200ml olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1tsp white wine or apple cider vinegar
2 anchovies, very finely chopped
Black pepper
200g Parmesan, finely grated or peeled into strips
2-3 thick slices of sourdough bread cut into croutons
Olive oil for frying

Optional additions: Cooked chicken, fried rashers, cooked chickpeas, slices of tomato 

Method
1
I prefer to make this by hand. Whisk the egg yolks with the mustard and a little oil. Keep adding the oil gradually until it begins to thicken. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, pepper, anchovies and garlic and whisk well till it’s fully combined, smooth and glossy. Add a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan and mix.

2 Tear all of the kale into bite-size pieces. Coat the kale generously with the dressing. It’s easiest to use your hands here. Leave it to sit for an hour or so for the flavour to develop and to soften the kale.

3 Meanwhile make the croutons. Drizzle the bread with the oil in a frying pan then fry over a medium heat till golden, turning regularly. Season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Fold the Parmesan through the salad and scatter the croutons over. Serve right away.

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