Salads,  Sides

No-Fail Kale Caesar Salad

My family and close friends definitely know my love (obsession) with cookbooks.  At times, I know they hesitate to purchase “yet another cookbook” for me, however, I am never disappointed in opening a gift to discover a new cookbook!  In fact, from that moment of first opening the gift, I cannot wait to find a quiet moment to flip through all the pages!   I especially enjoy the cookbooks with history and stories of the origins of the recipes.  My Italian cookbooks are like travel guides to the place I dream to go to one day.

Recently my niece, Nina, heard about this cookbook, specifically popular for one recipe, and immediately took her mother (my sister) to check it out.  And very soon after that, it arrived in my mailbox!  The cookbook, 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know is from the editors of Glamour Magazine.  It is truly a great first cookbook for young, single women or a new bride as it not only has easy recipes but also speaks to women as a guide for life.  The recipes have fun names; I particularly like the Seduction Pork Chops, He Stayed Over Omelet, Get Skinny Dip, Man Trouble Mojito, Bikini Season Baked Salmon, Hook Him Apple Pie….. I think you get the idea!  The book lacks photos which I don’t mind, but would probably be helpful for someone new to cooking.   

The No-Fail Kale Salad caught my attention as I have been attempting to find more ways to incorporate this highly nutritious veggie into my meals.  The fact that the salad needs to rest an hour with the dressing on it is actually a positive as this salad can be made ahead for a dinner party; not having to be tossed and prepared at the last minute.  In fact, I’ve eaten the leftovers the next day and they are still good, if not even better! 

By the way, I’m curious; does anyone know about this book and the specific recipe my niece wanted me to try??

No-Fail Kale Salad

Caesar-style salad with kale, pecorino cheese, and homemade croutons

Adapted from 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know

Juice of 1 lemon

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (to be divided, 4tb – 2tb)

2 garlic cloves, mashed

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste (about 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper)

Red pepper flakes, generous pinch depending on preference of spice

4-6 cups loosely packed cups kale, preferably flat leaf purple kale – midribs removed and leaves thinly sliced

2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscana cheese or Parmigiano Reggiano

1 small loaf ciabatta or other rustic bread cut into 1 inch pieces, about 1 cup

In a large salad bowl, whisk the lemon juice, 4 tablespoons of the olive oil, garlic, kosher salt and pepper.  Add kale and toss well.  Add 2/3 of cheese, toss again.  Rest salad for 1 hour in the refrigerator, the dressing will soften the kale and give it a romaine like texture.   

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the bread cubes with the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil.  Spread cubes on baking sheet.  Toast for 7 minutes or until golden brown.   Remove from the oven and cool.  After the salad has rested at least one hour, add the bread cubes, toss again and top with remaining cheese and serve.  Serves 4.

I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.

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