Kale is a great way to liven up a traditional Caesar Salad. The hearty leaves go well with the sharp flavor of Caesar dressing, with or without the anchovies. This salad can be enjoyed with raw kale leaves or lay the fresh leaves on a hot grill for a few minutes to wilt them just a little. This mellows the flavor and texture of the kale nicely. If you have time try making fresh croutons, it barely takes anytime and you will notice the taste difference. Buy some local bread at your farmer’s market. Use the best quality parmesan you can or even pecorino romano. Shave the cheese over your salad with a vegetable peeler and top with croutons just before serving. Start with preparing the kale.
Remove the stems of the kale, but leave the leaves whole or in big pieces. To do this fold the leaf in half and slice out the stem, but leave the top intact. Wash and dry using a salad spinner. The salad is best served warm off the grill, so mix up the dressing, then grill the kale, dress the greens and serve. Anchovy is traditionally used in Caesar Salad, but if you don’t like anchovies or prefer a vegetarian dressing just omit the anchovy. Combine the ingredients and whisk together.
Grill the kale in batches over a hot grill until just wilted or grill marks start to appear. Alternately use a cast iron grill pan, on high heat on your stove top. I used lacinato or dinosaur kale, but any variety of kale will work well in this recipe like green curly kale or red Russian kale.
Grilled Kale Caesar Salad
1 large bunch or 2 small bunches kale
1 cup croutons
3 tablespoons of mayonnaise
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan or pecorino plus more for serving
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 finely chopped oil packed anchovy (optional)
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce (or vegetarian worcestershire or tamari)
1 minced garlic clove
salt + pepper to taste
Prepare the greens. Remove stem from leaves, wash and dry.
Mix dressing. Combine dressing ingredients in a glass jar, shake to combine. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
Grill kale over high heat until just wilted on a grill or cast iron grill pan.
Toss greens with dressing then top with croutons. Use a vegetable peeler to shave petals of parmesan over salad. Serve warm or chilled.