Recipe and Photos By Cody Owens
Let me start out by saying that recipes are meant to be broken. At the end of the day, they’re just one person’s opinion about how you should make food that you’re going to have to eat. Recipes are great—obviously, but they are there for you to tweak and play around with.
That’s exactly how I got to this point—with what I consider to be my favorite way to make a Caesar salad. It’s a classic. Dress it up or keep it simple—or hell, you can even grill some romaine lettuce and go that route with it. Either way, if done correctly, a Caesar salad is one of the best things you can make for people you love (and even the people they bring over whom you don't like).
One thing I won’t budge on though is adding gross store-bought croutons to a salad. Either make your own, or in this case, toast up some panko breadcrumbs real quick to achieve maximum crunch.
Trying different recipes and learning how to make my own Caesar dressing for the first time really opened my eyes to the wide world of Salad Love. With any luck, this recipe will help do the same for you.
1 Large Bundle of Kale
Cups Olive Oil
1 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
1 Teaspoon Chili Pepper Flakes
2 Egg Yolks
5+ Garlic Cloves
3 Anchovy Filets
½ Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Juice of ½ Lemon
Dash of Hot Sauce
Grated Parmesan to Taste
First thing we’re going to do is put the whole, peeled garlic cloves into a small sauce pan with olive oil and cook it as low as possible for 30 or more minutes. You don’t want to fry it, so cook it on very low heat. Turn off the heat and add the chili flakes. You can use a neutral oil instead—I just love olive oil all the time.
On a cutting board, cut up the anchovy filets as much as possible. You can also use anchovy paste here to make it easier on yourself.
In a mixing bowl, add egg yolks, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire, and lemon juice, and whisk it all up real quick.
Once the oil is completely cooled, remove the garlic cloves and set them aside. You can dice them up and add them to the dressing if you’re a garlic-head like me.
Slowly start to add oil to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients, whisking constantly. Add a little at a time so it doesn’t break up.
Once you’ve added all the oil and everything is emulsified, add the anchovy and some grated Parmesan to taste. Remember that it’s salty, and so are anchovies.
I like to finish mine by adding some vinegar-based hot sauce.
Add dressing to a bowl with the chopped kale—or Romaine lettuce—and massage it all together.
Lastly, in a skillet, add panko breadcrumbs and a healthy amount of olive oil and let them get toasted. Don’t go anywhere because they cook pretty quickly. There is no faster way to ruin a Caesar salad than by using big, hard crouton bricks from the store. With toasted panko breadcrumbs, you get crunch in every bite.
Top the salad with breadcrumbs, more Parmesan, and whatever protein you like—I like roasted chicken breasts with mine—and serve with a lemon wedge.