The very best ones have bright acidity, a little richness and lots of anchovies and Parmesan Reggiano cheese. Fresh croutons that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside make a difference as does the quality and cut of the lettuce (and please do cut the lettuce - it's just lazy to serve me giant leaves of romaine...there's no good reason for it). So when I saw a Jean Georges Vongerichten recipe for a kale salad with a caesar-style dressing, I couldn't wait to make it.
His salad is comprised of raw, ribboned kale with a little mint (or basil, in my case) mixed in, topped with thin slices of not-too-spicy serrano peppers. The dressing follows tradition except for a fat pinch of red pepper flakes and a spoonful of lemon zest. You dress the salad and let it sit for a bit to take some of the squeakiness out of the kale. I flaked some baked salmon on top to make this a meal. Killer. If you have someone who makes at stinky face at the mention of kale, serve them this. They will be singing its praises before the meal is out and you can feel warm and fuzzy for having opened a mind and filled a tummy.
Note: the recipe says it serves 4 but that assumes everyone will be happy with a cup and a half. They won't be, so plan accordingly.
JGV Kale Salad (Caesar Kale)
Adapted from SeriousEats.com