Red Russian Kale Caesar Salad
This salad is a great way to throw together a quick meal that offers a refreshing change from the typical Caesar Salad and features a noble vegetable that loves our Pennsylvania climate. I love to add a soft-boiled egg but this dish could be easily upgraded with roasted King Oyster Mushrooms from Primordia Farm or for something more substantial, a grilled chicken thigh. The whole dish comes together rather quick thanks to a well stocked pantry that should always include breadcrumbs and Vietnamese Fish Sauce. During the winter you can sub out the kale for shaved kohlrabi to take advantage of one of my favorite cool weather vegetables.
A few notes on ingredients:
- I love the vinegars being made by Keepwell Vinegar. They source ingredients from the Mid-atlantic region and all their products are naturally fermented. I used their Chanterelle vinegar for this recipe.
- Red Boat fish sauce is my brand of choice. It has a beautifully clean and intriguing flavor.
- I made my breadcrumbs from the Buck Honey Rye from Lost Bread Co. It’s not only a great way to use bread that is past its prime but it adds a nuanced layer of flavor to the salad. To make your own breadcrumbs, cube day old bread and layer it on a metal sheet pan. Dry it on the lowest setting of your oven until dried out and crispy. Buzz in a food processor to desired coarseness.
- To make the dressing, place one egg yolk, vinegar, mustard, fish sauce and ¼ tsp of salt in a mixing bowl. Using a microplane, grate 2 cloves of garlic and the zest of a lemon into the bowl. Add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and combine until smooth with a whisk. While whisking vigorously in one direction, slowly stream in ½ cup of olive until you create a creamy dressing. Using your microplane, grate ½ cup of Parmesan into your dressing. Finish with a couple good cracks of fresh pepper. I like to add a lot!
- Prepare your breadcrumbs. In a large saucepan warm the remaining ¼ cup of olive oil with a peeled and crushed garlic clove. Once garlic is golden brown, add your breadcrumbs and 2 pinches of salt. Mix breadcrumbs to coat in the oil. Continue to cook the bread crumbs while stirring constantly until they take on a beautiful golden brown color. Pour breadcrumbs onto a plate lined with a towel to cool.
- Soft Boiled eggs. Place a medium sized pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil. While water is heating up, prepare a bowl of ice water for chilling the eggs. Once water comes to a boil, carefully lower the eggs into the water to avoid cracking and set a timer for 6 minutes and 30 seconds. When time is up, immediately plunge the eggs into the ice bath. After 5 minutes, carefully peel the eggs and place on another plate lined with a towel to drain.
- Prepare your salad. Strip the kale leaves from the stem and cut into ½” pieces. Place in a large mixing bowl. Carefully cut each egg in half and place the cut side up on a plate. Season eggs with sea salt and fresh pepper. Season kale with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and toss to evenly cover. To start, add a tablespoon of dressing and toss. Taste and add more dressing or salt, if you like. Most likely, you will not need all the dressing. Cover the egg with an even layer of the dressed kale. Nest, add a good covering of garlic breadcrumbs followed by a showering of grated Parmesan. Don’t skip on either of these two. They really make the salad. Finally, hit it with a couple grinds of fresh black pepper.