Ah, kale! The darling of the vegetable world. This dark, leafy green is delicious and nutritious. Check out what WebMD says about it:
"One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus."
Holy Moley! That's some good stuff! We used Dinosaur Kale, also known as Lacinto Kale, Tuscan Kale, or Black Kale. The name Dinosaur Kale (which is my favorite) comes from the leaves having the appearance of dinosaur skin. Stephanie and I made almost everything for this salad from scratch and it was so easy!
We started by preparing the croutons. This takes some time since the croutons have to be baked to get that delightful crunch so I suggest starting with this step.
- Cut sliced bread into cubes. You pick the bread and the cube size. We used sourdough and cubed it to about 1 inch.
- Melt 1/4 cup of butter with an equal amount of olive oil over very low heat. Add 2 diced cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of dried italian herbs, and a big pinch of salt. Keep over heat for one or two more minutes so the garlic gets completely infused into the butter and oil.
- Pour butter mixture over bread cubes and toss.
- Place cubes into a large baking dish or onto a cookie sheet.
- Sprinkle liberally with grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch more salt.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes at 325°F or until light brown and crispy. Remember to toss once during baking process for even browning.
While the croutons are baking, you can prep and bake the chicken breasts and they should finish around the same time.
This is so easy! Place chicken breasts in a baking dish and season both sides with salt and pepper. I also used a little smoked paprika for added fun. Add about 1/3 cup of liquid to the baking dish. Tonight, chicken stock was used. You can also use white wine or even just water. This helps keep the meat moist. Cover dish with foil and put in the oven below the croutons. Yes, specifically below the croutons, just in case something spills; you don't want any raw chicken-ness on your yummy croutons. It should take about 20 minutes for the chicken breasts to cook through and be sure to take foil off about half way through. Cooking time really depends on the size of the chicken breasts so if you are unsure, make sure you use a meat thermometer and it registers 165°F. That is the USDA recommended safe minimum.
Time to make the dressing. There are a lot of great recipes out there on the interweb and, over the years, I've taken what I like from various recipes and managed to make my own. I hate dirtying measuring spoons and I like to "eyeball" most things so here's a list of what I use:
- 3 garlic, peeled and rough chopped
- 3 anchovy fillets
- 2 egg yolks (save the whites for making a scramble in the morning for breakfast)
- juice of one lemon
- 1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard
- 2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
I like to do this with an immersion blender (you can use a regular blender as well). **If you don't have access to a blender, you can finely chop the garlic and anchovies and use a pinch of salt and the side of your knife blade to mash the ingredients together into a paste. Then, follow the rest of the directions.**
Put all ingredients together EXCEPT the olive oil, parmesan, and salt and pepper. Begin blending. Once ingredients are blended, slowly add olive oil and parmesan. You can pause at any moment to taste as you go along. Be sure to add salt and lots of fresh cracked pepper to taste. No blender? Use a bowl and a whisk for the same results. Your whisking arm will get a nice workout.
Kale stems are tough, especially when raw, so tear the stems out and chop to an edible size, about 1-2 inches wide.
We also added some cherry tomatoes. Toss greens with dressing. Place on plates, add sliced chicken breast pieces, add croutons and a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese and you're ready to dig in!