Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kale Caesar Salad + Seared Artichoke Hearts

This salad is super simple and really delicious, a combination that works right well for us these days. We've been so busy -- like, a no-time-left-for-TMZ, must-schedule-a-full-hour-for-folding-insane-piles-of-laundry, going-to-the-dentist-is-actually-so-relaxing level of busy, you know the drill…but we never want to skimp on mealtime, so we make adjustments. We have stuff to do, but we always have to cook!

One of those fixes is finding stuff we can make ahead, something that'll still be good when we're ready to sit down and eat. As you have likely experienced, most salads wilt into bunch of nothing once they're dressed. This one improves over time and is even better the next day because the kale is so hearty. This is a great new thing to try when you've had your fill of candy kale chips. (A definite possibility. We're there, too.)

Kale Caesar Salad + Seared Artichoke Hearts

1 large head curly kale (stems removed, about 10 cups)
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon grainy mustard (like Zatarain's)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 clove garlic (minced)
1 teaspoon vegan/vegetarian worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 14-ounce can artichoke heart quarters (in water, drained)
3 cups croutons*

In a large non-reactive glass or plastic bowl, massage the kale with the lemon juice; tear the leaves with your hands until it's in bite-sized pieces. In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, mayonnaise, garlic, worcestershire, and honey. Add this and half of the parmesan cheese to the kale and toss to incorporate. Allow it to sit covered in the fridge for a couple of hours -- the acid in the lemon will soften the kale. Add salt and pepper to taste once you are ready to serve. Place mixture into a large bowl or divide onto 4 plates.

In a large frying pan over high heat, add the olive oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer, toss in the drained artichoke hearts and cook until browned; turn once. Place warm artichoke hearts onto of the kale, along with the croutons and the remaining cheese. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. (Makes 4 servings.)

*Make your own croutons by drizzling the bread of your choice with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and placing it into a 250-degree oven until dry and crisp. A French of Italian loaf works well for this, but you can also use a gluten-free bread like we did here. Add extra flavor if you'd like by adding in an Italian herb mix or garlic powder to the bread before toasting.