Kale Caesar with Roasted Corn and Cornbread Croutons

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Do you like Caesar salads? Do you like corn on the cob? Do you enjoy the taste of raw kale masked by a delicious, creamy dressing? If so, this salad is for you. Side salads on summer buffets are usually an afterthought- after all, how can a bowl of lettuce hold a candle to baked beans, buttery corn on the cob and big stacks of tomatoes and mozzarella? But this salad earns its spot on the table.

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Local corn at Balsam Farms in East Hampton…even the corn in the Hamptons is famous.

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The kale is cut into thin ribbons so it’s easy to eat and the dressing gets well distributed. Tangled throughout the salad are crunchy corn kernels and chunks of cornbread that soak up all that Caesar dressing as they sit, making this a great recipe to put together in advance.  There’s just something about the lemony  dressing and toasted cornbread  that makes this difficult to stop eating, which is not something I usually say about kale salads.

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If you’re worried about using raw eggs, you can substitute mayo or Greek yogurt. And if you don’t like anchovies, you could leave them out, but I wouldn’t recommend it (unless you want to make the dish vegetarian.) A very experienced cook recently told me, “Never underestimate the power of an anchovy.” You won’t know it’s there but it gives the dressing its fundamental Caesar-ness.

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This salad is a serious crowd pleaser and an ideal dish for a big summer dinner. The recipe serves 6-8 generously, but you could cut in half if you’re cooking for a smaller group.

Just a note that while this recipe was originally published in 2016, I made a few little updates and changes to it in 2021.

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5 from 2 votes

Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Summer Corn and Cornbread Croutons

Servings: 6 -8

Ingredients

  • 3 cups diced cornbread or corn muffins
  • Kernels cut from 3 large ears of fresh corn
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 bunches Tuscan kale (about 10 ounces each)
  • Caesar Dressing (recipe follows)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Place the cornbread and corn kernels on a sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to combine. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes, tossing halfway through. Set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, chiffonade the kale: cut along each side of the rib to remove the leaves. You should end up with two long strips from each rib. Roll the leaves lengthwise into "cigars" and slice them thinly crosswise to cut the kale into ribbons. Wash the kale and dry it using a salad spinner.
  • To assemble the salad, pour the dressing over the kale and toss well. Add the corn and croutons and toss again. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to several hours before serving. This salad is best the day its made.

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Caesar Dressing

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, such as Grey Poupon
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 to 2 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature (optional)*
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, anchovy, egg yolk, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined. With the processor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream. Add the Parmesan, and pulse until just combined. Refrigerate in a sealed container until ready to use.
  • *If you are not using the egg yolk, substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise or full fat Greek yogurt.
6 Comments
  1. 5 stars
    This salad is AMAZING. The flavors come together so nicely. I particularly like that it holds up well, and is great as a “make it ahead.”

  2. next to your giant chocolate chip cookie…your Kale Caesar Salad is our favorite. It was a hit this afternoon at the family reunion picnic. We like your take on food. You are teaching this old dog new tricks. Thanks.

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