Late winter is hard on all of us but there’s nothing sadder than a heel of bread. What just a couple of days ago was fresh, golden and springy has become dull and stiff, decidedly less appealing. Even worse, you may come across the forgotten remains of a loaf buried deep within your freezer. Don’t despair. Toasting in the oven for about ten minutes, then tossed with olive oil, you can transform lifeless slices into crunchy croutons. Not bad considering it would probably take a vacation to a warm beach to transform me so completely.
Last week I had the brilliant idea of making a caesar salad using fresh, raw kale from the farmers market. Okay, it wasn’t a completely original idea since I had seen a photograph in Tartine Bread. We’ve all become fans of Sally’s Massaged Kale and it’s basically the same idea using olive oil and lemon but adding the creaminess of an egg, salty anchovies and our newly transformed croutons dusted with plenty of parm.
Kale caesar salad has easily slid into first place on my list of favorite winter salads.
Caesar Salad Dressing
Ingredients: 1 egg yolk/ 2 cloves garlic/ Juice of 2 lemons/ 1 cup extra virgin olive oil/ 2 – 3 anchovies/ Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste (if you use anchovies, you’ll need less salt).
Directions: Put all ingredients except olive oil in food processor. Blend for about a minute. Continue blending, adding the olive oil in a slow drizzle until it is fully incorporated.
For croutons, cut stale bread in cubes (I love using sourdough bread). Place on baking sheet in a 350 oven until toasted, about 10 minutes. Remove and place in a bowl. While they’re still warm, drizzle with olive oil and toss.
Just before you’re ready to eat, place kale in a large salad bowl. Add croutons, and plenty of grated parmesan cheese. Add dressing and toss. Grind fresh pepper on top.
You can use this recipe for classic caesar salad using romaine lettuce too.
Another fabulous way to use day old bread is blanketed with melted cheese in Julia’s French Onion Soup.
Talk about a yummy makeover — makes me want to get under a warm blanket and turn up the heat.