RECIPE – World’s Best “Kale Caesar w/ Chicken”

By Henry Gould – Nov 12th, 2018

It’s lurking on every “premium casual” lunch menu, every hotel restaurant, sports bar; even craft breweries. For a plant that was once reserved only for garnish around buffet salad bars, kale has made such a dominant push into North American food culture that it has almost become a meme in and of itself.

Nobody should be upset that people are eating more kale – it’s packed with fiber and nutrients – but they can be disappointed if the kale caesar isn’t living up to its platonic ideal.

Kale is great, but it is quite fibrous, and therefore needs a bit of love to get the most out of it. The real trick to a great kale caesar is cutting the leaves very fine and then massaging them with olive oil prior to dressing. This helps break down the cell walls of the leaves, and save your jaws a lot of work.

Also, using Tuscan Kale makes for a better salad; it seems to have an ideal texture for adhering to the dressing.

For your chicken, boneless thighs are the best in terms of juiciness and flavor. However, if you prefer chicken breast, use that instead.

  • Tuscan Kale
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 anchovy filet
  • 1 lemon
  • Mayonnaise
  • Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
  • Hot Sauce (Tabasco or Franks)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
  • Boneless chicken thighs
  • Croutons (optional)
    • Sourdough bread, cut into small cubes
    • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
    • Chili flakes
    • Sea salt

Wash the Tuscan kale, trim the woody ends off the bottom of the stalks, then lay each kale leaf on top of one another like a deck of cards. With the sharpest knife you have, start to slice the kale as thin as you possibly can, cutting across the stalk (not “with” it). Slice all the way so you have a large mound of shaven kale.

Put the shaved kale into a large bowl, drizzle over some olive oil then start to massage the kale, squeezing it firmly with your hands. It should feel quite theraputic and turn your hands green…. perhaps this could be a new chlorophyll beauty regiment?? BRB SELLING THE IDEA TO GWENYTH PALTROW.

After you’ve massaged the kale it should have reduced quite a bit in size and look a little different. Don’t worry, this is normal and is how they make the kale salad at Savio Volpe which everyone goes bonkers for.

To make the dressing, a pestle and mortar is best. If you don’t have one, a blender is good, or just a knife and chopping board. Start by pounding the garlic clove and anchovy filet up in the pestle and mortar, or using the back of a knife on the cutting board. You’re trying to make a paste. Add to a bowl, along with the juice of a lemon and some of the lemon zest. Add about a tablespoon of mayonnaise, a few dashes of hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce, then stir to combine. Add salt, pepper, and a healthy glug of olive oil. Stir to combine everything then have a taste. Does it taste like the best caesar dressing ever? If not, add more salt, pepper, olive oil or lemon juice until it’s there. Don’t worry, all those ingredients, if tweaked enough, will make it taste great!

To make the chicken, simply season with salt and pepper and a little olive oil, then put on a roasting tray or frying pan that can go in the oven. Turn on your broiler and move the rack to the highest position. Put the chicken under the broiler and then watch it closely. Cooking under the broiler is great, and allows you to roast and sear at the same time, which makes for great flavor on meat. Once the first side is nicely dark brown, flip over and cook on the other side.

To make the croutons, toss the cubed bread with some olive oil, salt, garlic and chili flakes, then put under the broiler to crisp. Bonus points for cooking the croutons on the same pan you cooked the chicken… the bread will soak up all the nice juices and really take things to the next level.

Finally, to make the salad just toss the massaged kale with as much dressing as you like and a handful of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, along with some sliced chicken and croutons.

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