November 12, 2010

My Love for a Green

Things that I love: Desserts - man I've got a killer sweet tooth.  Cheese - haven't met one I don't like yet.  Except the fake kind.  But that, uh, obviously doesn't count.  My family - they're pretty fantastic.  D is pretty great too.  My cat - at the risk of sounding like a crazy cat-lady, yes, I love my cat.  Sushi.  Dumplings.  Shopping, and KALE.
    Say what?  Yes, kale.  I used to think it needed to be cooked, sauteed, braised and thrown into soups.  I was wrong.  I don't eat it because it's a healthy, dark leafy green rich with antioxidants, beta carotene and Vitamin C & K, that's just a perk.  It's fantastic raw as well.  It has a bit more bite to it, a bit more chew and that translates to more flavor than your average head of romaine or supermarket lettuce.

    Which is why, when this email from Tasting Table landed in my inbox, there were two reasons I knew it was going to be a great recipe.  Firstly, what a fantastic take on Caesar salad - using kale in place of hearts of romaine.  You mean I get to feel less guilty about eating a salad coated in a fatty homemade sauce of olive oil and egg yolk?  Sign me up!  And secondly, the recipe comes from Chad Robertson's new cookbook "Tartine Bread" of San Fransisco's famed Tartine Bakery.  It's impossible not to love that place with their delicious freshly baked bread, pastries and quiches.  Really the combination was a no-fail-must-make-tonight-need-this-right-now kind of a thing.

    However this was just a salad; some greens, a dressing, croutons and a dusting of cheese, not quite a meal.  And sometimes, particularly on Mondays, I don't want to cook 2 or 3 things to round out a meal just because I'm dead set on making a certain dish.  I really wanted this salad, but I know that while I can be satisfied by a plate heaping with vegetables, the more manly half of this household likes something with a little more protein.  And what's quicker to make than shrimp?  Just 3 minutes in a hot pan and the salad, now a dinner, is perfect.  Hardly much extra work for me and a happy household overall.

    Hey, you're eating kale instead of lettuce, give yourself a pat on the back!

    Kale Caesar Salad w/ Herbes de Provence Shrimp
    Adapted from TastingTable which in turn adapted it from "Tartine Bread", Chad Robertson and

    A few things.  I didn't use the original Caesar dressing recipe, I just couldn't bring myself to commit 1 1/2 cups of olive oil to a condiment that I rarely use, instead I found a different one on  Unfortunately, though I was excited to make it with raw egg yolk, this one didn't call for it, but I found it worked quite nicely with an extra kick from the dijon that the original lacked.  It's also scaled down to be just enough to lightly coat 4 servings because I don't like salads drenched in dressing.  Feel free to use as much as you see fit as this recipe is for only 2 servings of salad with leftover dressing.  Also, the addition of shrimp was all me.  Sauteed quickly with a little more herbes de provence it bulked up the salad to make it meal.  And although the recipe calls for lacinato kale, I made it once with just curly green kale and once with lacinato and both were delicious, so don't freak if you can only find one kind.

    2 generous servings

    4 1-inch slices of day old country bread, cut into 1 inch cubes (about 2 cups)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence

    1 large clove garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (or 2 fillets)
    1 teaspoon dijon mustard
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

    1 large bunch of kale (curly green or lacinato), washed, dried and torn into small pieces
    1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 pound shrimp, rinsed and dried
    1 teaspoons herbes de Provence
    1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

    Make the croutons: Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil, a pinch of salt and the herbes de Provence, if using. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake, turning the croutons midway through, until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes.

    Make the dressing: Mix minced garlic, anchovy paste and dijon into a paste.  Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix to combine.  Whisk (or with a fork) the olive oil and set aside.
    Make the shrimp:  Put olive oil in a small saute pan over high heat.  Add shrimp, herbes de Provence and a pinch of salt and toss to coat.  Cook for about 4 minutes, tossing or mixing frequently.

    To compose salad:  Toss the kale with half the dressing until evenly coated.  Add parmesan and croutons and toss again.  Divide onto two plates and top each with half the shrimp.  Reserve remaining dressing for another use.


    1. This is what I want when I can eat/taste again.... maybe March or April. It looks devine!

    2. I'll make you the biggest plate of it then! We can make a feast of it!