Kale Caesar Salad with Garlic Croutons

You can’t escape kale these days: it crops up in scrambled eggs, smoothies, pasta sauces, on pizzas, even in cakes and brownies – pretty good for a once deeply unfashionable type of cabbage! Tana and I have embraced these dark leafy greens in our house as she loves kale and tries to sneak it into the kids at every opportunity. I, on the other hand, think it makes a great addition to a classic Caesar salad, but don’t let it anywhere near my brownies!

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed

3 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

150g sourdough bread

1 tbsp vegetable oil

200g smoked bacon lardons

100g mixed kale (green and purple, if available)

4 little gem lettuces

100g baby chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced

½ red onion, peeled and finely sliced

8 anchovies in olive oil

40g Parmesan cheese

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

100g good-quality French mayonnaise

1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed

20g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

1 tsp Dijon mustard Juice of ½ lemon

8 anchovies in olive oil (optional)

1–2 tbsp water


Preparation

1Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/Gas 7. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

2Put the garlic, olive oil and parsley into a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

3Tear the sourdough into small pieces and put them into the bowl with the garlic oil. Mix until well coated, then spread the bread over the prepared tray. Place in the oven and cook for 8–10 minutes, or until golden brown.

4Place a large non-stick frying pan over a medium–high heat. When hot, add the vegetable oil, then the lardons and cook for 5–8 minutes, or until crispy.

5Meanwhile, make the dressing: put the mayonnaise, garlic, Parmesan, mustard and lemon juice into a bowl. Chop the anchovies, add to the bowl and stir to combine. Add the water to loosen the dressing.

6Tear the kale into bite-sized pieces. Trim the lettuces and separate the leaves. Cut the larger leaves in half lengthways and keep the smaller leaves whole. Put all the leaves into a salad bowl with the sliced mushrooms and red onion.

7Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Scatter over the croutons and bacon lardons, then cut the remaining anchovies in half lengthways and lay them on top (if using). Using a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan over the salad before serving.

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