If you’re here, you made it through the holidays! Congratulations! You honestly deserve a medal. Instead, I’m giving you some veggies.
Jay and I gave the east coast a run for its money these past couple of months. Thanksgiving in Atlanta with my mother and brother, Christmas in Boston with Jay’s father and a stop in New York to see his mother. It was wonderful to see everyone, but dammit I am tired.
I hate to be a cliché, but my body is desperately in need of some vegetables. It’s been through the ringer these past two (okay, really 8??) months. So over the next few weeks I’ll be posting my heathy-ish recipes.
When I’m trying to be “good,” I have found that it’s much easier for me to be healthier when I’m not sacrificing flavor. Please don’t make me eat plain, poached chicken. Fresh ingredients, lots of herbs, good quality produce and a great cut of meat always help make that easier.
Everyone has different definitions of healthy. These dishes may not be considered “clean” but it’s probably way better for you than what you’ve been eating for the past two months (sorry, I’m projecting). I personally do really well when I decrease the amount of simple carbs I eat (EVERY BODY IS DIFFERENT. I am not telling you what’s best for you). So I try to aim for lots of veggies and proteins.
Enter, Kale Caesar Salad with Shrimp! The dressing and crouton recipes come from Bon Appetit’s Classic Caesar Salad recipe. I started using kale instead of romaine because it has a bit more nutritional value and I love the way it holds up.
Okay, let’s talk anchovies in the dressing – even if you don’t love the idea of them, don’t completely cut them out. I modify the amount in ours because Jay doesn’t love the fishiness, but you will miss that much-needed umami if you get rid of them completely. And yes, this dressing is worth the work. As are the croutons, which I know sounds really unnecessary. Just try them once (a loaf of bread, olive oil and 10 minutes – SO WORTH IT) and you’ll be shelving the boxed ones in no time.
Shrimp is optional. I usually do a quick lemon, olive oil marinade, let sit for 15-30 minutes, sauté and cool them down. Throw on a little parm and you’ve got an awesome, fresh, totally homemade Caesar salad! Aren’t you so amazing???
- 1 Bunch of Kale
- ½ lb of thawed shrimp
- Juice of one Lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Homemade Croutons
- Homemade Dressing
- Extra Parmesan Cheese
- 3 cups of 1 inch torn pieces of a bread loaf (I like a good whole wheat loaf.)
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Homemade Caesar Dressing
- 3-4 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained (I sometimes cheat and use anchovy paste. If going in this direction, use ½ tsp per fillet you plan to use. Original recipe calls for 6 fillets so if you want more GO FOR IT!)
- 1 garlic clove
- Kosher salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more
- ¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 375.
- Mix the juice of one lemon, ¼ c olive oil and herbs. Toss your shrimp in the marinade and place in refrigerator until ready to cook.
- Toss the bread with the 3 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10-13 minutes. These can easily burn, so peek at them around 10 minutes to see what’s going on.
- Time for the dressing! Chop the anchovies, garlic and pinch of salt together. Smash into a paste. Scrape this into a medium sized bowl.
- Whisk in your egg yolks, 2 tbsp of lemon juice and the mustard.
- Drop by drop add in the olive oil while whisking, eventually streaming it. Then do the same with the vegetable oil. You want to add both of these slowly as you want the dressing to properly emulsify, rather than become a broken mess. Keep whisking until dressing is thick and shiny.
- Give your forearms a rest. Then whisk in parmesan. Season with salt, pepper and more lemon juice to your personal taste.
- Turn a pan on medium heat. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and add your shrimp to the pan. Season with a bit of salt and pepper and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until shrimp are pink and cooked through.
- Remove your kale greens from the stem and chop as you desire (I like a fine chop on my kale, some prefer big leaves). Toss greens, shrimp, your amazing croutons and dressing together. Top off with some ground pepper and a little more parmesan cheese and VOILA! HOMEMADE DAMN CAESAR SALAD!!!