...kale is the "it" ingredient right now...
This green is incredibly nutrient dense, it tastes good, and it grows like a weed in our mild northwest climate. We have it in our garden for at least nine months out of the year, so believe me when I say that I'm always looking for new things to do with it (over the summer, it was kale smoothies)! It's great braised, sauteed, used in soups, and much to my surprise, raw.
Right now, we have tender leaves about six inches long hanging out in the greenhouse, so I just had to do something that highlighted their delicate flavor. Kale, like many plants in the cabbage family, develops a wonderful sweetness as the weather turns chilly, becoming especially delectable after the first frost. This recipe was inspired by one I saw originally in a Tasting Table newsletter, but I have adapted it to suit my tastes using my favorite caesar dressing. I served this recipe tonight to rave reviews, accompanied by eggs from our chickens poached in tomato sauce (eggs in purgatory).
Raw Kale Caesar
yield: 4-5 servings
For the kale:
1 # cavolo nero (tuscan) kale, washed and dried
For the dressing:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
6 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
1 t dijon mustard
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T plain yogurt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
4-5 slices rustic bread, brushed with olive oil and toasted under the broiler
To prepare the kale: holding the thick stem in your non-dominant hand (your left if you are right handed), slide the blade of a knife down then stem to shed the leaves from the fibrous, tough interior ribs. Once you have removed the main rib, roll the leaves up like a cigar (maybe five or six at a time), and cut very finely to create 1/8"-1/4" wide strips that are the width of the leaf. Continue until all of the leaves are shredded, and transfer them to a mixing bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the dressing, combine everything in a blender and run until smooth and creamy.
Just before serving, dress the kale to your taste (I kind of like it juicy), arrange on chilled plates, and garnish with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese and a toast.