When I was very, very pregnant with Bowie, a group of my best ladies took me to a special luncheon at Bryan Voltaggio’s Family Meal in Frederick, MD. Oh, I loved walking in that space and feeling for a moment like I was back in NYC. So much gorgeous natural light, even if the view of the parking lot wasn’t the most striking. The cocktails were delicious; I can’t remember the name of the light pink one we decided was the best, nor can I remember a single ingredient in it (mom brain to the max). We ate like, well… like pregnant ladies (two of us were) – feasting on duck fat fries, beet and carrot salad, chicken pot pie fritters (so good). My fish tacos on little handmade corn tortillas were perfect little morsels and the chocolate earl grey donuts lived up to their fame. However, I think my most memorable bite may have been the kale caesar salad. Is there anything better than eating a super flavorful, rich dish, yet feeling virtuous staring into a plate full of dark leafy greens?
On a more recent visit to Frederick, this time to Common Market and with my darling little Bowie now pressed to the outside of my belly in my cherished Ergo, I picked up a bundle of my favorite variety of kale – beautiful deep green lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan kale, black kale, dinosaur kale). Later that night I took my knife to the broad leaves, cutting some big pieces to bake a batch of kale chips and very thinly slicing the rest with Family Meal’s kale caesar salad in mind. Taking notes from a simple Epicurious recipe, I whizzed up the dressing ingredients in the food processor, tossed it with the kale, and grated in a couple of hard-boiled eggs. (Have you ever done that, by the way? It’s a miracle how well it works.) Topped with sauteed shrimp and a few crisp kale leaves, this makes for a perfect light lunch or dinner. Full disclosure: the toddler didn’t agree. Hmm, maybe I should have told him it was dinosaur kale. Next time.
Dinosaur Kale Caesar Salad
adapted from Epicurious
Serves 2-3, with extra dressing
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
5 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I like Maille)
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large bunch (about 14 oz) lacinato kale, thick stems removed (curl your finger around the base of the stem and pull down, removing all of the leafy part) and thinly sliced
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
8 oz large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and sautéed, optional
Kale chips, optional
Combine the first 4 ingredients in a food processor or blender; purée until smooth. With machine running, slowly add oil in a thin stream to make a creamy dressing. Transfer dressing to a bowl and stir in cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss kale and half of dressing in a large bowl. Grate in hard-boiled eggs. Stir and add more dressing until you reach your desired consistency.Top with shrimp and kale chips, if using.