Caesar Salad is probably my all-time favorite salad. A lovely blend of flavors and textures. I thought that you probably couldn’t improve on a simple Caesar, until I had a taste of my sister-in-law’s salad she had ordered in a restaurant in San Francisco. It pushed the ‘tradition’ envelope – and that’s what I really loved about it. It still had this lovely caesar aspect – and then added a whole new unexpected dimension, with the addition of kale and in-season Cara Cara Oranges. This salad, to me, is what the whole Farm to Table movement is all about: eating local, in-season produce.
In this instance I used an organic Red Lettuce that I saw at the market. You can use any lettuce that looks good to you at the time, of course. At the moment, here in Northern California, all these fresh ingredients in this salad are in season – and I enjoy this salad so much, that when those Cara Cara oranges are no longer available, you can bet I’ll be making it with blood oranges, Florida Oranges, Satsumas – or whatever else IS in season!
Kale is touted as one of Nature’s super foods – but to me, all greens are superfoods. I sometimes feel that when a food is suddenly ‘rediscovered’ it becomes the latest superfood! Well, obviously, as long as it’s one that is full of high quality nutrients. I don’t think we’ll ever see the new superfood discovery of Baked Alaska any time soon…
I like to use Lacinato Kale in this recipe – regular curly kale would work fine, but personally, I just prefer the texture of the lacinato variety. And of course, if you can’t get your hands on the Cara Cara oranges, then regular oranges would work just fine! Cara Caras, in case you’ve never come across them before, are a gorgeous navel orange, with a pinkish/red hue on the inside and were originally a cross between the Washington navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel. They are very sweet and virtually seedless. Their season runs roughly November to May. I always squeeze loads and freeze their juice so I can enjoy them all year long. They are grown all over California and exported all over the World.
You can make this salad completely vegetarian/vegan by using a vegan mayonnaise, using a vegetarian parmesan (or leaving it out altogether if vegan) and omitting the anchovy paste. See the full recipe for the Caesar Dressing here.
- 1 small head organic red or butter lettuce (could sub cos/romaine)
- 5 leaves of organic lacinato/black kale
- I medium, or 2 small cara cara oranges (sub regular orange if unavailable)
- 2 T parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup 32g pumpkin seeds, toasted
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Caesar Dressing:
- 1 cup 240g 'Just Mayo' or other mayonnaise/Veganese of choice
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped fine (I use a microplane to get it really fine)
- Juice and peel of half a lemon
- 1 T red wine vinegar
- 1 t dijon mustard - not wholegrain
- 1T worcestershire sauce - (sub vegan worcestershire sauce if vegetarian)
- 2 t anchovy paste (Leave out if Vegetarian - if not restricted, do use it as it really gives the classic 'Caesar' taste)
- ½ cup 40g freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Assemble the Salad
- Wash and prep the salad leaves and tear into bite-sized pieces.
- Wash and prep the kale (discarding the hard center stalk, or use in juicing) and tear into pieces.
- Cut both the rind and the pith from the orange and cut each segment in half.**
- Make the Salad Dressing
- Put the Mayonnaise into a small bowl and whisk to loosen.
- Add all the other ingredients, apart from the parmesan cheese and stir to combine.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Gently stir in the cheese.
- Pour into a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use. (Make ahead, up to 5 days).
- Assemble The Salad
- Just before serving, combine the leaves and add 2 Tablespoons of the dressing. Toss and taste to check you have enough dressing - add more if desired.
- Gently toss in both the orange segments and their juice.
- Scatter the top with the remaining 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese and the pumpkin seeds.