I've been wanting to make this hearty vegetable salad ever since I got my hands on a copy of Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten. The trouble with recipes like this is that they take quite a bit of work and time and I'm usually the only one who will eat them. So after I fool with making something like this, I then have to turn around and cook something more "normal" for the family.
Look, this might not seem like a lot of work and dirty dishes, but it really truly is. First, you have to destem all the broccoli and boil it in a pot, then you'll need a bowl of ice water just for the broccoli, because Ina wants you to blanch it - exactly after 4 minutes of cooking.
Then you need to wash and trim all the ribs off a bunch of kale and julienne the kale. Get out your salad spinner because you'll have to dry the kale as well.
Then, if you made this recipe exactly as written she would have you making a homemade Caesar dressing. I'm dieting and I needed a lighter version, so I went ahead and used my store-bought favorite, Ken's Light Caesar. I feel accomplished because I saved a step.
After all that, she wants you to make your own croutons, so cut up some bread and get out yet another pan and saute up some homemade croutons. Fine, Ina. It's really easy enough.
Then she wants you to get out yet another pan to boil the eggs. For crying out loud, Ina! Why can't we just save a step and use the pan we boiled the broccoli in? I like you Ina, but I really feel like you should mention this and save people some dishes. Sheesh!
Then you get out another bowl and toss all the veggies and cheese and croutons in the dressing and top with the 6-1/2 minute eggs. Then you need 6 bowls so you can divide the salad into bowls and top with the eggs. Take care to cut the egg in half over the salad or you might lose some of the golden goodness on a cutting board instead of on your salad. Also, take note, Ina likes to call this a 6-1/2 minute egg, but my eggs could've used another minute, so maybe do a little practicing to see what works for you.
One plus about this salad is that it would make a lovely lunch or dinner for entertaining. You could prep all the ingredients beforehand and toss it altogether when the guests arrived. You could also prep all these ingredients and then meal prep this salad for lunches throughout the week. In fact, that's what I will likely do. This salad is hearty, healthy, beautiful, and delicious, but it will yield an entire sink of dirty dishes and a rather messy kitchen so be forewarned!
Broccoli & Kale Salad
Adapted from Modern Comfort Food
by Ina Garten
salt and black pepper
8 cups broccoli florets, stems removed (2 bunches)
1 bunch baby kale
Caesar Salad dressing (recipe follows)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 to 2 lemons)
1 cup Toasted Croutons (recipe follows)
1/4 cup grated Italian Parmesan cheese
6 extra-large eggs
Bring a large pot of water with 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil and fill with ice water. Add the broccoli to the boiling water and cook for exactly 4 minutes. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and transfer to the bowl of ice water. When cool, drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
Remove and discard any hard ribs from the kale, stack the leaves on top of each other, and thinly julienne them crosswise. Add to the bowl with the broccoli.
Add enough Caesar Dressing to moisten the broccoli and kale and toss well. Add the croutons, lemon juice, and Parmesan. Divide the salad among six dinner plates.
Meanwhile, fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil (I used the same pan I boiled the broccoli in). With a spoon, carefully lower each of the eggs into the boiling water and lower the heat until the water is at a low simmer. (You don't want the eggs knocking around in the pot or they will crack.) Cook the eggs for 6-1/2 minutes exactly, remove them from the saucepan, run them under cool water, and peel. Place one egg on each salad, cut it in half, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Caesar Salad Dressing
2 extra large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, at room temperature
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
10 anchovy fillets
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, at room temperature (2 - 3 lemons)
salt and pepper
1-1/2 cups good mild olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Italian Parmesan cheese
Place the egg yolks, mustard, garlic, anchovies, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth. With the food processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube (as though you were making mayonnaise) and process until thick. Add the Parmesan and pulse 3 times to combine.
good olive oil
2-1/2 ounces country white bread, 1/2" diced
salt and black pepper
Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small 8-inch saute pan and heat over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the bread and saute, tossing occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes, until evenly browned. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.