Target Health Blog

KALE CAESAR!!!

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This is one of the most delicious salads on the planet, whether you make it with romaine or with kale. I've been making Caesar salad for years and if I do say so, myself, my recipe is one of the best. Take it from me, there is no bottled Caesar dressing, that can equal the one you make yourself. Also, for some reason, some restaurants stopped using anchovies and even eliminated garlic. Without these two ingredients (and all of the others, too) you may have some kind of salad, don't know what you would call it; but it ain't Caesar. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

Get all of the ingredients together in one place. Use fresh! Fresh garlic is better than garlic powder. Fresh lemon is better than bottled. Freshly grated parmesan is better than bought and freshly baked croutons taste much better than store bought. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

Ingredients 

The Dressing

3 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained

4 fresh garlic cloves

Pinch Kosher salt

1 large egg yolk (boil egg for 1 minute and not longer)

Zest of 1/2 fresh lemon

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more (to your taste)

3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 Tablespoons excellent olive oil

2 Tablespoons canola oil

6 Tablespoons finely grated FRESH Parmesan

Pinch black pepper

Worchester sauce (one drop)

 

The Croutons 

1 cup torn 1" (bite-size) pieces old bread, with crusts

1 Garlic clove, squeezed

2 teaspoons olive oil

 

The Kale

1 large head of kale, leaves separated, washed three times, dried with paper towel. Then leaves torn by hand, put into a bowl and set aside.

Even though the plastic bag may say, pre-washed, I always rinse any leafy veggie under cold water, two or three times. Here's the kale a dark beautiful green - has lots of healthy magnesium; just what you want for good health. I would say, that I tore the leaves too much; better a little larger. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

The Cheese

1 cup FRESHLY GRATED Parmesan, grate it yourself & leave extra on the dining table, so more can be added after serving. Although, you can buy pre-grated parmesan, it's quite bland compared with the cheese you grate yourself, freshly grated for each recipe.

 

Directions

The Croutons, certainly, can be made the day before. Otherwise, make them first, before you make the dressing. Can you buy packaged croutons? Of course, but try to make them yourself. The flavor is so much better. If you're going to make a really great Caesar salad, you might as well make great tasting croutons. There is simply no comparison! Once you taste the richness of your own croutons, you'll never buy them again. They're not a peripheral ingredient, they make the salad better. That's why they're in the recipe.

 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, add the 2 teaspoons olive oil and the squeezed juice of one fresh garlic clove. Stir

3. Tear or cut any left-over bread, you have, into (1 inch) bite size pieces, enough for 1 cup (press the bread down a bit, in the measuring cup). Then put the pieces of bread, into the bowl with oil/garlic. My favorite bread for croutons is day old (or older) sour dough bread.

4. Now, toss the bread pieces or cubes and be sure that the bread cubes are all covered (as much as possible) with the oil mixture. Let them sit for a while to absorb the oil, like 30 to 60 minutes. Stir them around every once in a while

5. Arrange croutons on a baking sheet or large pan and bake, tossing occasionally, until golden, 10-15 minutes. Watch them carefully. Just a little too long in the oven, and they will burn and won't be useable for the salad. When golden, remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Croutons are about to go into the oven. You can see that some pieces have more oil than others. Doesn't matter. Once added to the salad, dressing will rub onto the croutons and they'll be delicious. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
Out of the oven, crisp, crunchy and delicious; ready to be added to the salad. These are a hundred times better than store-bought. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

The Dressing 

1. Use a large wood salad bowl and make the dressing in the bottom of this bowl.

2. Boil one large egg for one minute and remove from heat after 1 minute. Immediately run the egg under cold water. Then carefully crack it open, so as not to break the yolk. You have to separate the yolk from the egg white and use only the yolk in this recipe. Separate and put the yolk into a small container, ready to use in the dressing. This is a precaution worth taking, to prevent salmonella. Never use a completely raw egg.

You've got to boil the one egg, for 1 minute and not longer. This is a short cautionary step, so as not to get salmonella. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

3. Now, mash all the garlic and anchovies, right in the wood salad bowl, with a fork. Evenly mash, so you get a smooth paste.

Starting to mash the garlic and anchovies in our wooden salad bowl. This wooden bowl is devoted to Caesar salad, only. By doing this, over time, the garlic and oil season the wood. In Santa Fe, at one of our favorite restaurants, we ran into a chef who did the same thing, tableside. Used a favorite wood salad bowl for Caesar salad only. Four Seasons restaurant always had same bowl for their Caesar Salads, made tableside. This beautiful space with unequaled delicacies, was where Target Health Inc. held the first-second-third and fourth annual Holiday Parties. In the first few years, our numbers were small but our goals were not; Four Seasons fulfilled our needs nicely. That great restaurant is gone now, but not forgotten. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

‍4. Next, with a small whisk, add the egg yolk and whisk it into the garlic/anchovy paste; or continue to use the fork.

5. Now, add the lemon zest, 2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and whisk; then add the mustard and 1 drop of Worchester sauce, whisk again

6. Next, add the extra virgin olive oil and whisk it into the dressing.

7. Add the canola oil drop by drop, while you whisk it into the dressing.

8. Finally, add the freshly grated parmesan and black pepper (to your taste). Taste to see if the dressing needs more of anything (to your taste). With the anchovies, you may decide not to use any salt. You might want more lemon juice. This is the time to taste and decide. I don't think you need salt, since the anchovies are salty enough.

9. Whisk the dressing so it's thick and glossy.

Freshly grated parmesan means doing it yourself. There's no substitute. Buying a container that reads freshly grated simply is NOT. After a while, you'll see, there's something satisfying about doing it yourself. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
Make the dressing completely in the bottom of your salad bowl. Then add the kale leaves. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

‍10. If you want, you can make the dressing 1 day ahead; however, I think serving right after making the dressing is the very best way to make Caesar salad.

11. Just before serving, add the croutons and toss. Then add additional freshly grated parmesan and serve.

Add the freshly baked croutons to the kale, with dressing underneath. Now, it's time to toss. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
I always add to the table, a dish with extra, freshly grated parmesan, just in case I didn't use enough in the dressing. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
Tossing the salad. Just about to serve it. Will add more parmesan in a minute. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
The proof is in the eating. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.
We're trying a super-Tuscan wine, Tignanello - which is a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc, from the highly regarded Antinori Estate of fine wines. Scroll down to read more about the history of this wine, worth trying, if you haven't already. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

‍We started our meal with glasses of full bodied Tignanello, a blend with complex aromas and a long finish, worth paying attention to. Then the Caesar salad, which if made correctly, makes a bold statement to your taste buds. We thought that a white wine, would not push back enough and that this red would be the best to accompany the Caesar. This particular recipe is so-o good, that I made it my whole meal with seconds and thirds. Jules likes more than one dish at dinner, so I created another meatless recipe, experimenting with him for the first time. I call it a Mushroom Medley with Marsala; served with a nice chewy twisted pasta called, Gemelli. I would say that New Yorkers (following the lead of California) are now trending toward more and more meatless meals.

I took a chance that the richness of the mushrooms would combine well with the Tignanello wine, and the two were made for each other. This whole meal was simple but beyond delicious. Call us OCDers, but for the thousandth time, we had our yummy lo-cal jello cake for dessert, slathered with cool whip.

 

BTW, just to go back to the Caesar: I never promised you a low-cal salad. Sorry

At Manhattan's Signature Theater, where THI is a Patron, saw a new play by one of New York's young talented playwrights, Annie Baker, called Antipodes, which for me, echoed Samuel Beckett. A year ago, we saw Annie Baker's The Flick, which won that year's Pulitzer prize. The Flick ran for three hours, but with excellent theater, time is never an issue and we loved this play. Antipodes, is a mind bender and an allegory (in my opinion) and I love art, like this, that compels you to cogitate more than you might do, otherwise. We've also seen Annie Baker's play, John, with a surprise ending. Keep a lookout for the keen talent of Annie Baker, often working with young, equally talented NYC director, Sam Gold.

 

More about Tuscan wines from the Antinori Estate:

Gemelli Pasta

‍Giovanni di Piero Antinori joined the Florentine Guild of Vintners in 1385, beginning an oenological legacy that has lasted over 26 generations. Throughout the company's history, it has remained family-owned and operated. Today, Marchese Piero Antinori directs the long-lived family vision, and his three daughters participate in various activities with the firm.

Famed wine consultant Giacomo Tachis began his celebrated tenure with Antinori in 1961, a year that witnessed the inception of new vinification techniques (controlled temperatures, aging in bottle, and barrels comprising a range of types and styles) and the beginning of a revisionist period in the concept of Chianti (which was later actualized in various methods utilized to maximize extraction and aroma). This dynamic period of experimentation continued over the course of several years, with some of the pivotal initiatives including the use of maloactic fermentation for red wines, aging in barrique, and planting of several non-indigenous varietals.

The most tangible and compelling evocation of these progressive efforts, of course, is captured in Antinori's extensive portfolio, which features some of Italy's most revered and sought-after bottlings.

Piero Antinori desired not to recreate a Bordeaux-style claret, but rather, to convey the versatility and finesse of the noble Sangiovese.

Drawing upon the consummate skill of Giacomo Tachis, Antinori realized his conception in the form of the second official Super-Tuscan - Tignanello - debuting in 1971 as a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. While second in the Super-Tuscan timeline, its conception entailed several inaugural efforts: It was the first modern wine of Chianti to contain a nontraditional grape - Cabernet Sauvignon - while omitting white grapes, and the premiere wine to be aged in small barrels.

From Our Table to Yours

Bon Appetit!

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