KALE CAESAR SALAD WITH AVOCADO, TINY TOMATOES & PARMESAN CRISPS

Ten years ago, kale was a leafy green few people considered family friendly. A decade later, it is a new superfood. Recently, sweetgreen, a fast food salad joint, opened several locations in the Boston area. One of the most popular menu items is their kale caesar salad. Delicious and healthy, each salad costs about $9. While generous in size, it would be nearly impossible to order this for our family of seven on a regular basis. So, with a whole lot of inspiration and a bit of improvisation, this kale caesar made it to Weston Table’s recipe collection. Parmesan crisps replace the traditional caesar croutons. Add a bit of roast chicken, or a few pre-cooked shrimp, and this salad is a nutritious, protein packed weeknight meal that can be assembled in under 15 minutes. 

Nota bene: Whole Foods sells prepared Parmesan crisps in the cheese department. Any type of leftover, boneless, skinless chicken is great. IL BOSCHETTO INFUSED GARLIC OIL eliminates the first step and is an excellent short cut.

Ingredients

  • 1 large clove of garlic, peeled and halved

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 8 oz. Parmesan Reggiano cheese, coarsely shredded

  • 3 cups curly kale, chopped

  • 3 cups romaine, chopped

  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans

  • 1 avocado, cut into 1/2” cubes

  • 24 tiny tomatoes, halved

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 5 anchovy filets, mashed with a mortar & pestle

  • 3 drops Worcestershire sauce

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 lime, halved

Directions

1. Put the garlic in the olive oil and let sit as long as possible, up to 48 hours, but at least an hour (or use bottled garlic flavored oil).

2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

3. On a half sheet baking tray lined with a Silpat or parchment paper, sprinkle one tablespoon of cheese and use fingers to make a circle (more or less). There should be air holes that look like a lacy pattern when it spreads. Do not pack cheese into a ball. 

4. Place the baking tray in the oven and cook for 5 minutes, or until the cheese begins to melt and each cheese disc looks like lace curtains.

5. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. The parmesan will continue cooking and will harden as it cools.

6. Put the kale and romaine in a large bowl and toss to combine.

7. Add the garbanzo beans, avocado, and tomatoes to the greens.

8. In a small glass bowl, whisk together the mashed anchovies, 6 tablespoons garlic olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and red wine vinegar. 

9. Crack the egg and whisk into the dressing. Pour over the salad greens.

10. Squeeze both halves of the lime over the salad. 

11. Finish by breaking the Parmesan crisps into bite sized pieces and sprinkle them over the salad. Gently toss to combine all ingredients and serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6