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  • Kale Caesar with Bottarga for Veggie U

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    If Caesar Cardini, creator of the caesar salad had lived in Tuscany instead of Tijuana, this might be the way a caesar would look. But my inspiration for an Italian interpretation of this classic came from that fine city of Nashville. While seated at the chef’s bar at City House restaurant with my Nashville musical ambassador and dining companion, Jack, we shared a tasty kale salad vinaigrette with dollops of seasoned crushed potatoes.  I kept thinking how welcome something warm and crispy would be in the dish. Thoughts turned to a Nigella Lawson recipe for caesar with baked potato “croutons”, and the wheels began to spin.

    In my version, mineral flavors of tender leaves of kale stand in for romaine, the bulk of the salad. Crispy baked circles of new potatoes laced with garlic and crunchy flakes of sea salt replace the expected and often ho-hum bread croutons. And although the original caesar  was without the addition of anchovy, I crave the oceanic brine flavor the fish brings to the whole. Finding my pantry devoid of anchovies, I turned to another now-staple in my kitchen, that “bacon of the sea”, as deemed by other Nashville friend, Claudia, the dried mullet roe known as bottarga. The bottarga played beautifully, and if I daresay, perfectly. The combination of flavors and textures in my new and to my taste, improved, version of caesar is so utterly scrumptious – crunchy, salty, greens-sweet and juicy – that I ate it for three straight days in a row.

    Starting my salad with some of the gorgeous produce I had received from Chef’s Garden – leaves of red and lancinato kale so small and tender that I could leave them whole and with stems. Tiny new potatoes, both yellow and red, and irresistible little stalks of yellow-blossoming baby bok choy – not Italian, but a totally harmonious team player.

    Into a hot 400 oven went the thin circles of potato tossed in a light slick of olive oil and spread on a baking sheet to roast – at this size 10-15 minutes was all the time required. Some minced garlic was stirred in for the last 5 minutes before they were tipped out on to paper towels, sprinkled with coarse salt and kept warm while I dressed the bowl of greens.

    The kale was dressed with just enough good olive oil and a sprinkle of salt to lightly coat the leaves. In went a quivering coddled egg, a few dashes of worcestershire, and gently toss, toss, tossed. Some squeezed lemon juice to taste and grindings of black pepper. Next, finely grated parmigiano reggiano cheese and the bottarga – about three parts parmesan to one part dried roe – and tossed again. Tasted and adjusted accordingly.  Topped with the warm potatoes and served with additional parmesan and grated bottarga mixed together on the side.

    Just a reminder about the 2009 Food and Wine Celebration to support the efforts of Veggie U

    “Through Veggie U, we provide the educational opportunities children need to make healthy selections through hands-on activities, kids’ classes on the farm and educational kits sent to the schools that include such things as seed and soil packets. Kids learn that vegetables can taste great – that they can be packed with flavor and nutrition if grown properly and with care as they are at The Chef’s Garden® This year, more than 1,000 youngsters visited us to learn about good nutrition!”

    Be on the lookout for my FANTASTIC PRIZE GIVEAWAY in conjunction with Farmer Lee Jones of Chef’s Garden!

    7 Comments

    1. Posted June 11, 2009 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      OH, J– would love this so. And, I love the potatoes instead of croutons; I really dislike croutons.

    2. Posted June 11, 2009 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      This sounds just delicious – the bottarga is a little stroke of genius. I make the nigella version quite alot but always with cubes – I love the look and idea of your slices.
      I might well be eating this 3 days in a row sometime soon.

    3. Posted June 11, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Bottarga for a caesar salad. That is a very, very good idea.

    4. Posted June 14, 2009 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      I’ve never heard of bottarga but this looks and sounds amazingly delicious. I can’t wait to try it!

    5. Posted June 15, 2009 at 6:56 am | Permalink

      MM – I’m with you on the crouton stance.

      Rachel – I prefer the texture and natural look of the potato slices.

      Rebekka – Hi, thanks, and thanks for finding me.

      Michelle – if you love kale like I do – MAKE THIS!

    6. Posted June 15, 2009 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      Ah, a new way to use kale! Sounds delicious and I can’t do without anchovies, either. Salt packed, whole ones.

    7. Posted June 16, 2009 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Love this — especially the “crispy baked circles of new potatoes laced with garlic and crunchy flakes of sea salt”. . .sounds heavenly*

    2 Trackbacks

    1. By Kale-a-palooza — Gluten For Punishment on October 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm

      […] Kale Caesar with Bottarga Indian-Style Kale and Potatoes Kale Caesar Salad Caldo Verde (Portuguese Kale Soup) Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup Braised Kale with Pancetta Italian Sausage and Kale Gratin Garlicky Greens Colcannon Kale and Black Bean Tacos Kale with Baked Eggs (just sub in rice or potato flour for the AP flour in this recipe) […]

    2. […] My favorite salad uses bottarga as an ingredient. […]

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