Working Gal Office Lunch: Kale Caesar with Farro and Homemade Croutons
I’m starting a new series, as of right now, called the Working Gal Office Lunch series. I was waffling between “girl” and “woman,” and realized that “gal” is the perfect old-timey confluence of the two.
This lunch is perfect for a working gal, minus the garlic blast that comes from eating this. And maybe the kale. Maybe this is more of a nighttime dish to be enjoyed with crackers, brie, and wine. But I’m also the kind of person who has a toothbrush and toothpaste in my desk - I am, after all, my mother’s daughter. And my father’s daughter. Basically, just a daughter, all-around.
A few nights ago, my sweetheart came home to a whole pile of de-ribbed and washed kale that was drying next to the sink, and said, “What is this?”
A long time ago, I made him a raw kale salad and his response was, “Isn’t this supposed to be cooked?”
This Tumblr post is starting off incredibly well! Let’s get to the recipe.
About the dressing: this caesar dressing does NOT have cheese (oh god, I’m losing you!), because I didn’t think it needed it. The recipe is from So Delushious, which is Chrissy Teigen’s blog. I don’t know, she’s funny and beautiful and likeable. I just like her! It’s hard to explain. The rest is inspired by Berkeley, California’s Pasta Shop/Market Hall, which makes this salad, but for like $6 a container. It’s cheaper to make it yourself, maybe.
Caesar Dressing (Adapted from So Delushious, 1/2 the recipe)
- 2 small cloves garlic
- 3/4 teaspoons anchovy paste (like the kind from a tube, they are $2.49 and last forever in the fridge in a creepy kind of way)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (or red wine vinegar)
- 3/4 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup mayo (I like the organic TJ’s kind)
- salt and pepper to taste
Chrissy’s instructions call for a bowl and a whisk and stuff, but I just throw everything into the mini food processor that I got for free when I bought a Cuisinart immersion blender from Costco for $30, so that is the way that I recommend doing things. Follow her instructions if you don’t have a food processor (or blender).
Taste your caesar dressing. It should taste delicious and not fishy. If it tastes fishy, up some of the other ingredients (minus the anchovies) and whizz for a bit so you don’t taste it.
This makes more dressing than you need.
Salad and Croutons
- One bunch of kale
- 1/2-3/4 cup of farro (I like a lot of farro in mine)
- Dead half loaf of baguette
- Half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Freshly cracked pepper
Preheat your oven to 400F. Wash and remove stems from a bunch of curly kale. Dry very, very well and slice into thin ribbons, and place in a bowl, squeeze a lemon lightly over top, season with a little bit of salt, and massage for a bit. Put this bowl aside.
Take half a loaf of a dead baguette and cut up into bite size pieces (you can’t really tear it at this point), toss onto a baking sheet, and pour over butter and olive oil. Toss to evenly coat, then scatter some salt on top. Maybe like a teaspoon or more. Toast the croutons until they are golden (you will be able to smell them), and take them out. I think it took 15-20 min or so.
Start with about 2-3 tablespoons of the prepped, homemade caesar dressing, and drizzle then toss the kale. You can add more later, but you should be able to taste a ribbon of kale without it being thickly coated.
In the meantime, fill a small pot with water and a healthy amount of salt, bring to a boil, and toss in your farro. Let your farro cook for 25 minutes, drain.
NOW HERE’S THE IMPORTANT STEP: put the hot farro straight into your bowl of kale. It will slightly wilt it and turn it bright green.
Add a little more dressing if it needs it. Toss in the croutons. If you toasted them long enough, they will actually get kind of a perfect softness to them (if you like that) but they will not get soggy when you leave the whole salad in the fridge.
I made this the night before, and also stored it for two days, and it was still great two days later. I didn’t add any extra dressing, but you can if you really love the dressing.