Arguably one of the most popular salads of the new world, the Caesar combines ingredients we all know and love: bacon, cheese, bread and mayo. Delicious it is, healthy it is not... until now. This lighter and healthier rendition hits the high notes of a classic Caesar, without compromising on flavour. Feel free to add poached chicken for a more substantial protein fix. If anchovies aren’t to you liking, simply replace with a few teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce.
- 120 g (4–5 rashers) short cut bacon (see Note)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 70 g wholemeal sourdough bread, cut into 2 mm thick slices (about 8 thin slices)
- salt and black pepper
- olive oil spray
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed
- 40 g shaved Parmesan cheese
- 2 soft boiled eggs or poached eggs to serve (optional)
- 1 small clove garlic, crushed
- 2–3 anchovies, finely chopped
- 100 ml reduced-fat natural yoghurt
- 3 tsp white wine vinegar
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp chilled water
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Brush the bacon with maple syrup and place on an oven tray lined with baking paper. Cover the bacon with baking paper and place a baking tray on top. Season the bread with salt and pepper and spray with olive oil. Place the bread in the baking tray and transfer to the oven. Bake for 8–10 minutes until the bread is golden and crisp . Remove the bread from the baking tray and allow to cool. Break each bread slice in half or into bite-sized pieces. Continue to cook the bacon for a further 10–12 minutes until lightly caramelised (check regularly in the last minutes of cooking as the bacon can burn quickly). When cooked, remove from the oven and roughly slice.
Tear one third of the kale into large pieces and spray with olive oil. Season well and spread in a single layer on a baking tray. Roast for 10–12 minutes until crisp. Set aside to cool.
To make the dressing, use the back of a knife to mash the garlic and anchovies to a paste with a pinch of salt. Add the yoghurt, vinegar, mustard and cold water. Season with black pepper, mix well to combine and adjust the seasoning with more vinegar if necessary.
Finely shred the remaining kale. Place in a bowl with the bacon, croutons and enough dressing to lightly coat. Layer the salad into bowls alternating with Parmesan and crispy kale. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and top with an egg if desired.
• Short cut bacon is a leaner cut taken from the loin. You can buy short cut bacon in the deli section of supermarkets and from most butchers.
Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel