I am a self proclaimed kale hater.
I think it’s too tough in soups, I don’t want to find it in my pastas & I only tolerate it chip form because I douse my portion in malt vinegar.
There. I said it.
Although, this salad has me questioning my stance on the superfood.
It comes from San Francisco’s Bi-Rite Market, a tiny little shop we ducked into on one of our trips to the city to grab a snack to tide us over until a late dinner reservation. We weren’t expecting anything special, but after walking up & down the narrow aisles, we were so surprised to find so many wonderful, fresh ingredients packed into the tiny, unassuming, little storefront.
I guess that’s what happens when a chef takes over a grocery store.
Not only did Sam Mogannam completely revamp his family’s business, kicking out cheap beer & replacing it with beautiful local ingredients (don’t worry, he made plenty of room for quality craft beer), but his store helped revitalize the now thriving Mission district & even put out a cookbook, Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food, which contains this lovely, lemony Caesar salad capable of turning a kale hater like me into a believer.
LEMONY KALE CAESAR SALAD
FOR THE CROUTONS
5 1/2 inch thick slices crusty bread, torn into bite sized pieces
extra virgin olive oil, to coat
FOR THE DRESSING
2 cloves garlic, grated
big pinch Kosher salt
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
FOR THE SALAD
1 medium bunch kale
1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, freshly grated, plus more for garnish
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread the torn bread on the sheet & drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat & give the pan a good shake to make one even layer of bread. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown, giving the pan a good shake halfway through the cooking time. Set aside & let cool.
Tear the kale leaves from the thick ribs. Tear the leaves into bite sized pieces & add to a large bowl. Set aside.
In a small bowl, add the grated garlic & big pinch of Kosher salt. Take a fork & mash the salt & garlic together to form a thick paste. Add the anchovy paste, mayonnaise, lemon juice & Dijon. Get your whisk ready. Start whisking & drizzle in the olive oil until thoroughly incorporated. Test for seasoning, adding more salt or lemon juice as needed.
Pour 1 1/2-2 tablespoons dressing over the top of the torn kale leaves. With your hands, toss everything together, coating all the pieces of kale. Add more dressing, if necessary. Sprinkle the cheese over top & toss again to combine. Let salad sit 30 minutes before serving.
After 30 minutes, top salad with additional Parmigiano, freshly ground pepper & serve.
adapted from Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food