On a recent night out, our waiter at le Bremner, an awesome Montreal restaurant owned by Chuck hughes of Food Network fame, described my salad as a massaged kale caesar. The description left me very intrigued as to why he would go out of his way to mention the massaging of the kale? The caesar was phenomenal, by the way, and left me wanting more.
I came home from dinner determined to recreate this kale caesar at home and also to find out more about this massaged kale business. Google had much to say about the topic. Turns out, massaging the kale for about 2-5 minutes breaks down its cellulose structure, causing the kale to wilt and soften as a result, making it more feasible as a salad green!
I have been eating kale for years now and had never come across this tip before. It left me wondering what other veggies would benefit from such tender loving care? Until I find out more, I encourage you to try this massaged kale caesar salad. It is so delicious. The leaves are perfect for soaking up the tasty roasted garlic dressing. Enjoy!
- 2 heads garlic
- ⅓ cup Olive oil + 4 Tbsps
- Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup)
- 2 anchovy filets
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ pepper
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese, plus extra for topping over salad.
- 1 baguette cubed
- 8 cups Tuscan kale or other kale, centre stalks removed, sliced crosswise into bite size pieces.
- To roast the garlic, preheat oven to 400 F. Chop the top off the heads of garlic, drizzle with olive oil, and cover tightly in foil. Bake for approximately 30 minutes till fork tender.
- Keep the oven on and bake cubed baguette, that has been tossed with the 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 roasted garlic cloves (from the second head of garlic), and seasoned with salt and pepper. Bake in a single layer for about 15 minutes at 400 F.
- Let garlic cool and squeeze one whole head (about 7-8 average sized cloves) out of skins and into a food processor. Add remaining salad dressing ingredients, other than the parmesan cheese, and process till smooth. Gently blend the parmesan into the dressing and reserve.
- To prepare the kale, rub the kale pieces between your fingers for 2-5 minutes, until the leaves turn shiny and feel softer to the touch. To make sure they are ready, you can taste for bitterness. If still bitter, keep massaging the kale for a few minutes longer.
- Toss the chopped kale with the salad dressing, sprinkle with the remaining parmesan, the croutons and serve.