Hail (Cashew) Caesar!

It’s the New Year and the Girls Scouts are lurking around every corner and bikini season is following right along their heels! That means more greens and less cheese. Kale Caesar being a trendy thing now, I decided to try this Cashew Caesar Dressing from Bon Appetit magazine‘s January 2016 issue on some broccoli slaw and fresh-from-her-garden kale from a sweet friend from church. Right now, Amazon has a great deal on this magazine’s print and Kindle editions! If you’re curious about delving more into the foodie world a little bit more, I definitely recommend this publication.

This dressing isn’t just for kale salads, it’s also really great tossed with vegetables prior to grilling. Kraft is great. I love the convenience of bottled dressings, but they ain’t got nothin’ on this dressing! And don’t let the inclusion of anchovies put you off. After all, many Caesar dressing eaten in restaurants contain anchovies! Even some pasta sauces contain anchovies. Bet some didn’t know that!

According to the originator or the Caesar dressing, anchovies were never a part of the original recipe (but I’m sure glad they are now!). The Worcestershire sauce was what gave the subtle umami flavor the anchovies evoke. Sure, you could skip the anchovies altogether, but you’d be missing something utterly magical. Trust.

While I wouldn’t exactly say this tasted exactly like Caesar dressing, it was lick-your-plate good. The addition of cashews contrasted with the sharp acidity and salty earthiness of the Dijon and anchovies. I recently picked up some Maille Dijon Mustard from World Market that was the best Dijon I’ve had in a really long time. French’s just doesn’t touch it.

The recipe calls for raw cashews and a finish with kosher salt (Maldon flaked sea salt is really good). I had roasted salted cashews on hand, so I didn’t finish with kosher salt until I had tasted the dressing. It sounds simple, but it’s always recommended that you wait to finish a dish with salt & pepper until after tasting; you can always add seasoning, but correcting an over-salting is pretty near impossible.

We enjoyed this salad with some baked chicken breast. For the chicken, I placed four small breasts in an 8×8 glass baking dish and poured an entire recipe of homemade French dressing over top. I covered and marinated the chicken overnight. I baked/oven-poached the chicken uncovered (in the same dish) at 350º for 45min.

One thing we didn’t miss, surprisingly, was cheese on our salad. It was so good despite not having it. Looking back, this meal was devoid of any form of dairy and I didn’t miss it which is a HUGE deal for me! The fattiness from the cashews and the saltiness from the anchovies satisfied that need. Sometimes it’s good to branch out. You never know what you might like that will ring your bell! Today, I’m finishing off the remaining dressing on a salad with the last of my Garlic-Parm chicken wings from last night!

What is your favorite way to dress a salad?

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