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A Kale Caesar

This time of year is always bittersweet for me. The change in the feel of the air, the clean, golden aura of the changing light--there's just something so beautiful and sad about autumn, and I can never quite shake a strange feeling of homesickness that I can only suppose is innate to my humanity. I think we all feel this way to a degree. We are always longing and remembering, and the triggers are different for each of us.

When I say "homesick" I don't mean for a place necessarily. I mean for specific points in my life, for certain people, for experiences. And for some reason, rather than having these painful fits of nostalgia in spring, when everything is coming to life, or in summer when the days are long and bright, I have them every fall--my favorite season.

People usually talk about food as being evocative. And it is. For instance, I can't eat an Asian pear without thinking of my good friend Andrea, who introduced me to them and told me, "they're a waterfall in your mouth." Oh, I love that gal. And then sometimes when I'm making coffee in the morning I am reminded of one of my best friends, Kate, with whom I shared a tiny apartment and would wake up very, very early in the morning to share a coffee before work.

But even more than food, this glorious, golden season brings on a flood of memories that I can't seem to quell. Not that I would want to if I could. I mostly just let them wash over me and try to be joyful that I have these things to look back on; that I am able to feel the rush and riot of them so long afterwards.

Other articles you might enjoy: Kale With Pepitas and Parmesan, Wild Rice Salad With Kale and Roasted Grapes, Kale and Parmesan Scones

Kale Caesar
Serves 4

Mash to a paste in a small bowl:
           2 cloves garlic
            1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Whisk in:
           2 tablespoons lemon juice
            1 egg yolk
            3 to 4 anchovies, mashed to a paste
            Pepper to taste
Whisk in, pouring in a thin stream and whisking all the while to emulsify:
           1/2 cup olive oil
Whisk in:
           1/4 cup packed finely grated Parmesan cheese
Taste the dressing and season accordingly. You may want to add more lemon juice. In all likelihood, you will find the dressing quite salty. This is as it should be--the greens you are dressing can take a lot of seasoning.
Set the dressing aside and make the croutons. Heat over medium in a skillet:
           2 tablespoons olive oil
Add to the skillet until toasty, turning once to get both sides brown:
           1 cup cubed stale bread (in my experience, the staler the better)
           1 bunch kale (I estimate 3-4 leaves per person), tough central ribs removed
Toss with:
           1/4 cup chopped parsley
            1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
Toss the greens with the dressing, then top with more grated Parmesan and the croutons.

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