A few years ago I cut my finger really badly with my immersion blender. I thought it was unplugged and I reached in to fish out a gazpacho chunk and – ZZZZZZZZZ – left pointer finger lacerated. I totally should have gotten stitches but … I was late to a cookout on the beach in Connecticut. And the guys were shucking fresh oysters! So I cried hysterically, called The Boyfriend (who was totally freaked out and sprinted to my rescue), threw a pack or two of gauze at the problem and hopped on a train to escape the city. It was equally deserving of a c.o.a.f.g. and #firstworldproblems. The cookout was lovely but my left index finger will always be missing a chunk and now I am always a little hesitant to bust out my immersion blender. And I always, always (well, at least usually) pay attention to whether or not it’s plugged in.
One dish that always gets the immersion blender is Caesar salad dressing – I use Alice Waters’s recipe and it is totally worth the risk. This time, I used kale instead of romaine lettuce to make it “healthy.” (Shut up, I don’t care if Caesar salad isn’t healthy, it’s delicious.) I use about twice as many anchovies as Alice does, but I love that meaty flavor on the salad and it scares away squeamish eaters and muahahaha — more Caesar for me!
- 1 bunch kale (I used Lacinato kale, which has dark, flat leaves, but you can also use the green, curly kale or traditional romaine lettuce)
- 1 T. red wine vinegar
- 1 T. lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 T. anchovy paste (or minced salt-packed anchovy filets, but I saved myself the time and effort with paste)
- ¼ c. olive oil, plus more for croutons
- ½ c. parmesan cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- Bread (for croutons – you decide how many you want! Hint: it’s a lot.)
- Salt and pepper
- Start with your croutons: you can pull together the rest of the salad while they toast. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut bread into bite-sized cubes and arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil (to minimize clean-up. You’re welcome.) Drizzle a little olive oil over the cubes. This might take a couple tries to get the way you like them, but there is no right amount of olive oil for croutons! Except the amount that I like which is perfect. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss the cubes around a bit to get the olive oil all over them. Bake the croutons for 15 minutes or so, tossing at least once about halfway through so they brown evenly. While they bake, work on the kale and dressing.
- Rinse your kale really well and tear the leaf from the stem. Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. (I like to do this with my hands because it gives the effect of massaging the kale without being so … annoyingly Martha about it.)
- To make the dressing: combine the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, anchovy paste, olive oil, half the parmesan cheese, and egg yolk in a small bowl. Blitz with an immersion blender. Double check that the immersion blender is off. Really, really, double-triple check that your fingers are not in jeopardy.
- Toss the kale with dressing. Top with croutons and reserved parmesan cheese.
Also, TJ, wherever you are, I hope you know this title is for you.