I’ve recently begun contributing the occasional local food feature — along with a simple recipe or two — to the Cincinnati Enquirer. I’m something of an old-school journalist type, and I value ink-on-paper media in a world of digital information. I’m perfectly happy to read The New York Times on my tablet during the week, but gimme the printed edition on Sunday so I can page through it at luxurious leisure. For awhile, our local paper considered doing away with its Wednesday food section, then resuscitated it with syndicated feature content. When a new editor approached me to ask if I’d contribute, I was happy for the opportunity to put the local back in local food coverage.
For this week’s “what’s in season now” feature story, I scouted farmers’ markets in town to get a sense of what growers are harvesting for our tables. At the Madeira Farmers’ Market, I spotted a bin full of baby kale from Elmwood Stock Farm — so beautiful! I shared this recipe for baby kale caesar salad with Enquirer readers this week; here it is for you!
Baby Kale caesar salad recipe
4–5 ounces baby kale (or a mixture of baby kale, arugula, lettuce, other spring greens)
2 thick slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2–3 anchovy filets (to taste), chopped
1 small garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
For the croutons: Preheat oven to 350°. Tear the bread in bite-sized pieces and lay it on a rimmed baking sheet. Toss the croutons with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt; toast, turning occasionally, until they’re dried and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
For the dressing: In a small food processor or blender, combine the vinegar, lemon juice, anchovies and garlic; blend to combine. Add the olive oil and blend until smooth. Add the egg yolk and blend until the dressing is thick and smooth. Stir in half the Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the salad: Pinch off any long stems from the kale. Toss the greens in a large serving bowl and season with a pinch of salt. Spoon some of the dressing along the side of the bowl and toss the greens gently to coat, adding more dressing if needed. Add remaining Parmesan and a generous grind of black pepper and toss. Top with croutons and a shower of grated Parm.