There is a restaurant on Wellington West, here in Ottawa, that I frequent often. They make brussels sprouts sexy and kale taste so good you’ll want to eat it every day. They also have an epic tuna crudo, but let’s get back to the kale. I recently came across the recipe for their lovely kale salad that they top with a heaping pile of airy manchego cheese. Yum! This really is the only kale salad recipe you’ll ever need.
Kale Salad with Caper Vinaigrette
For Caper Vinaigrette
3 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons capers, plus a good splash of brine
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups canola oil, scant
2 bunches curly kale
1/2 lb bacon
1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
1 1/2 ounces Manchego cheese
To make the vinaigrette, purée anchovy fillets, Dijon mustard, capers, shallot, garlic, vinegar and water in a blender or VitaMix until smooth.
Chef’s Tip: Allow some caper brine to be included with the capers; it will give the vinaigrette an extra “capery” flavour boost.
Slowly add the oil with the blender running. Season with salt. Chill the dressing until using.
Remove the stems from the kale. Wash, then soak in ice cold water. Using ice cubes, massage each leaf individually. The leaves will turn a strong green. This tenderizing process removes the leaf’s stiffness and will give the kale a more lettuce-like texture. Once the kale leaves are torn into pieces, pat dry with a towel.
To make coarse bread crumbs, place chunks of old bread in a 300°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes to dry and then crumble it in your hands until you have pieces the size of small peas.
Fry bacon slices until the fat is rendered and bacon is crispy, remove bacon and save the bacon fat in pan.
Add the coarse bread crumbs to the hot bacon fat in the pan and sauté until the crumbs are golden. Season lightly with salt.
Put the kale in a bowl for tossing. Season it lightly with salt. Add the bacony bread crumbs, and crumbled bacon. Don your kitchen gloves. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and massage it into the leaves.
Place in serving bowl and top with shredded cheese using a fine microplane.