My Kale Bombshell is really a kale salad tossed in an authentic Caesar dressing…”My” is used loosely because although I would like to say I’ve modified it significantly to make it my own, I haven’t really. This is a recipe that caught my eye as I was scrolling cable TV one rainy afternoon stuck in a hotel in North Carolina. It’s seems like Rachel Ray is always on when I visit the Eastern side of the U.S. Although I don’t dislike Rachel, I wouldn’t have stopped at her show but, randomly, one of my lady vamp obsessions, Christina Hendricks (from Mad Men and for some of you geeks, Firefly) was being interviewed. Not only that, but she then began to talk about her love of cooking, hosting dinner parties and mixology, then…she began to cook! What?! YES!
I think she made some sort of soup but what stuck in my mind was this brilliant recipe. Adding nutrient rich, and sometimes choke worthy, kale to a delicious classic Caesar dressing with no oil was brilliance. Besides, at the time I had yet to find a traditional, real, not creamy recipe for Caesar dressing that I absolutely loved and found easy. This recipe I am about to post has only two real modifications. The first is that I used a Baby Kale for Earthbound Farms that just popped up in the store. The other is that I added croutons. I genuinely believe that a good Caesar must have croutons and mine are gluten free, of course. And, I just had to call it Bombshell because Christina is such a classic one already.
Kale Bombshell Salad + Gluten Free Croutons
As I mentioned above, this salad is great with baby kale but if you can’t find it use Tuscan Kale which is dark with purple tones. The croutons I made using 5 day old bread I baked using King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Bread Mix.
1 clamshell of Earthbound Farms Baby Kale
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
1 egg (coddle for 45 sec.)
1 1/2 tbsp. anchovy paste
3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
Fresh ground pepper to taste, I used 1/2 tsp.
Three thinks slices of our gluten free bread
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
Sprinkle of balsamic vinegar
I like to get the croutons going first because you got to bake them up in the oven. I think because gluten free bread is a little denser, they take longer to crisp up and I have yet to make some really crunchy ones. But, for this salad it adds nice depth the have a little bit of toast with your kale. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F.
I cut my three slices of bread in square one inch chunks. In a square Pyrex or ceramic baker I press the two cloves of garlic for the croutons, then I through the bread on top and drizzle the olive oil, sprinkle the salt and dash the balsamic. Then taking my tongs I toss the mixture altogether. I bake the croutons for about 10 minutes, then toss them and bake for another 10 minutes. You may want to do rotations of 15 minutes depending on the heat of your oven or you desired tenderness (or lack) of the croutons. I prep the dressing next before I take the kale out of the clam shell container. I noticed the baby Kale gets kind of wilty in the warmth and it has been warm here because it is Native American Summer.
I start by coddling the egg because it’s fun and I can’t wait to do it. How do you coddle the egg? What is that? Well, it is when you bring a pot of water to a boil like you are going to boil an egg, but instead you just leave the egg in the boiling water for 45 seconds. I time it exactly and rescue the egg with a spider strainer. Crack the egg with yolk into your dressing bowl (I use a creamer or a jar if it is going to travel) and with a finger make sure you get some of the slightly cooked white away from the shell. Then add the lemon juice, Worchestshire Sauce, your pressed garlic and anchovy paste. Whisk. I like to chill my dressing for a bit, which is perfect because I’m often waiting for my croutons to finish baking. When all your ingredients are ready toss the kale, dressing, croutons, and parmesan, serve, get ready for the ooohs and ahhs. I haven’t had any left in the bowl at the end of dinner yet.