I brought a rye sourdough starter home from Tasmania recently. I thought of the story our friend tells, that her mum and dad smuggled a sourdough starter with them from America to Australia in the 70s. Imagine being able to bake bread on arrival, and through the baking of the bread feel at home, not so bereft. Anchored through all that change by the constant of a loaf of bread.
We were given the starter by my uncle’s Bavarian baker friend. He always gives me a loaf of rye on my arrival in Tassie, but now I can make my own. Sean has been experimenting with the starter, making a beautiful dense rye and baking a light rye, in a dutch oven, that has an incredible crunchy crust. Since we’ve been baking all this bread we’ve had lots of day-old bread. I love that in Italy there are so many recipes to use day-old bread, nothing is wasted. Last night Sarah made fried green tomoatoes with crumbed rye – so yum.
In this salad, Sarah used the day-old light rye for the croutons. The rye has so much flavour, and really stands up to the strong flavours of the greens and the garlic-y dressing. Don’t be scared of using the kale in this way, with the stalks removed they’re almost tender.
kale caesar salad
(Adapted from Tartine, by Chad Robertson. Tartine has some great recipes for day-old bread, and explains the method of baking bread in the dutch oven, a method that can replicate at home, the steamy environment of a commercial bakers oven.)
1 large bunch kale, or cavalo nero, stripped and chopped roughly
½ cup parmesan shaved or grated
rye croutons (about 2 slices of day-old bread, chopped roughly, dried in the oven, drizzled in a little olive oil)
1/2 clove of garlic
zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 (olive oil packed) anchovies
1.5 cups of olive oil
1 large egg yolk
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced in half
To make dressing, place garlic, anchovies, lemon zest in a mortar and pestle and pound until a thick paste. Add the egg yolk, a pinch of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice and stir thoroughly, still in the mortar. Continue to stir as you pour in slowly, ½ cup of oil. The mixture should look smooth and creamy – you are making an emulsion. Continue to stir adding more oil in a slow stream. The dressing should thicken. Periodically stop pouring and add a little more lemon. Once the oil is poured taste and add salt and little extra lemon juice to taste. Add a little water, a spoonful at a time, stirring to thicken dressing to the consistency of heavy cream.
In a large bowl combine kale and croutons, pour the dressing over the top, toss until coated. Add the parmesan and toss again. Place the eggs on the salad or on the side and serve.
(Serves 4 – 6)