In his new cookbook, Tartine Bread, Chad Robertson--the baker behind San Francisco's legendary Tartine Bakery--shares his secrets for perfecting artisan loaves at home. But for those of us who don't want to fuss with keeping sourdough starter on hand, the book's chapter devoted to dozens of uses for day-old bread is a must-read. In Robertson's Caesar salad, raw kale takes the place of traditional romaine lettuce and partners with a bold dressing that stands up to the hearty greens. The baker's touch: crispy homemade croutons tossed with olive oil, salt and herbes de Provence.
Kale Caesar Salad
Recipe adapted from Tartine Bread (Chronicle Books)
Yield: 6 to 8 generous servings
Four 1-inch slices day-old country bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon herbes de Provence (optional)
3 garlic cloves
6 olive oil-packed anchovy fillets
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads (about 1 pound) black kale, center stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
⅔ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Make the croutons: Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, toss the bread with the olive oil, a pinch of salt and the herbes de Provence, if using. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake, turning the croutons midway through, until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes.
2. Make the dressing: Place the garlic, anchovies and lemon zest in a mortar and pound with a pestle to make a thick paste. (Alternatively, pulse them together in a blender.) Add the egg yolk, a pinch of salt and a few drops of the lemon juice and mix thoroughly. While stirring, (or with the blender motor running), add ½ cup of the olive oil, one drop at a time, to create a smooth emulsion. Stir (or blend) in the remaining cup of olive oil in a slow stream. (The dressing will thicken.) Periodically add the remaining lemon juice. When all the oil is incorporated, season the dressing to taste with additional salt and lemon juice. Add water as needed to thin the dressing to desired consistency.
3. Make the salad: In a large bowl, toss the kale with the croutons. Add the dressing to taste, reserving any extra for another use. Add the Parmesan, toss again and serve immediately.