This fun take on Caesar salad is perfect for a festive gathering – each person can have their own little canning jar filled with salad skewers as a delicious and eye-catching appetizer. For a vegetarian version, replace the prosciutto with carrot ‘bacon’; use a non-dairy alternative instead of Parmesan and replace the anchovy paste and Worcestershire sauce in the dressing with a few drops of soy sauce.
For the creamy Caesar dressing:
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) anchovy paste (optional)
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more, to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) each salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) grated Parmesan
For the salad skewers:
- 10 wooden skewers
- 1/2 bunch kale
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) creamy Caesar dressing (as above, or purchased)
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) grated Parmesan
- 20 cubes of fresh bread, 3/4 inch (2 cm) in size
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) roasted garlic olive oil, divided *
- 4 - 6 slices prosciutto or ham, cut into long strips about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide
*make your own garlic oil by placing one sliced clove garlic in a heatproof small bowl with regular olive oil. Warm in the microwave for 30 seconds then let sit until cooled. Remove garlic.
- Make the dressing by whisking together in a small bowl the Dijon, anchovy paste (if using), Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add mayonnaise and Parmesan and whisk again. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt or pepper if you like. Refrigerate until needed.
- Prepare the kale by removing the leaves from the stems. This is easiest if you run your pinched thumb and index finger up the stem, starting at the bottom. Wash the kale leaves, separate into pieces approximately 3 inches (7.5 cm) in size, and pat dry. Place in a bowl and refrigerate until needed.
- Make the croutons by putting 2 1/2 tablespoons (37 mL) of the roasted garlic olive oil in a frying pan placed over medium heat. When oil is warm, add bread cubes and toss to coat evenly with oil. Cook, turning cubes every few minutes, until toasted and all oil has been absorbed. Remove from heat.
- Remove the kale from the refrigerator and drizzle the remaining 1/2 tablespoon (7 mL) of roasted garlic olive oil over the leaves. With a clean hand, massage the oil into the leaves for about a minute, to tenderize them. They should be glossy all over when adequately massaged. Spoon the creamy Caesar dressing over the leaves and use your hand to distribute evenly.
- Assemble the skewers by folding one large or two small pieces of kale together and threading them onto the skewer. Add one toasted bread crumb, another parcel of kale and another breadcrumb. Top with a strip of prosciutto or ham that has been rolled or folded into a 1 inch (2.5 cm) bundle.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.